Wichita State formally accepted an invitation on Friday to join the American Athletic Conference for the start of the 2017-18 season, school president John Bardo announced on Twitter:
"This is an event of great importance in defining the future of Wichita State," Bardo said, per a release. "Two years ago we set out on a fact-finding process to determine the best way athletics could help position the university for enrollment growth and enhance WSU's reputation as an academic and research institution."
Matt Norlander of CBS Sports passed along comments from the Missouri Valley Conference about Wichita State's departure:
McMurphy added that Wichita State will have $2.5 million of future revenue withheld as its fee for joining the AAC.
According to Thamel, the Shockers sought to bolt from the Missouri Valley Conference in favor of the AAC "in part because of the chilly reception they've received from the NCAA tournament selection committee."
The Shockers men's basketball team, which went 30-4 during the 2016-17 regular season, entered the NCAA tournament as a No. 10 seed in the South Region despite ranking eighth overall in KenPom.com's rankings.
By virtue of that seeding, the Shockers were unable to escape the first weekend of the tournament after a win against the Dayton Flyers set up a date with the second-seeded Kentucky Wildcats.
Membership in the AAC should fix that problem moving forward.
While the Shockers' resume wasn't thoroughly admired by the selection committee after they went 17-1 in conference play against the likes of Illinois State, Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois, they'll now compete with squads like SMU, Cincinnati and UConn for top billing in the AAC.
As a point of reference, SMU (30-4, 17-1) received a No. 6 seed after sporting regular-season and conference records that were identical to the Shockers'. The Cincinnati Bearcats, meanwhile, landed a No. 6 seed after going 29-5 overall and 16-2 in conference play.
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