Wichita State’s potential move to the American Athletic Conference would not take place until 2018-19, according to ESPN’s Andy Katz.
“A source with direct knowledge told ESPN on Thursday that the AAC will make a decision on Wichita State soon,” Katz wrote. “If this were to occur, it would happen for the 2018-19 season, since it would be too late for the 2017-18 season.”
“Under NCAA rules, if a conference adds a basketball-only member, it must take all of its Olympic/non-revenue sports.”
The ESPN.com story adds to the list of reports that portray Wichita State’s move from the Missouri Valley Conference to the AAC as growing in likelihood.
The ESPN story also said that if the AAC extends an offer, Wichita State would accept. There has been no doubt about that for more than a year.
Speculation about WSU’s interest in the American started in December 2015, when the university announced its plans to evaluate its conference options and the addition of sports.
Several sources in college athletics recently confirmed the AAC’s interest in Wichita State to The Wichita Eagle, on the condition of anonymity. A source directly connected to AAC members described Wichita State’s candidacy as strong and expectations among many schools are that the Shockers will be added.
Nationally, outlets such as CBSSports.com, Sports Illustrated and Mark Blaudschun of TMG College Sports are reporting that momentum for Wichita State has been growing over the past month.
AAC members are Houston, Memphis, Tulsa, Tulane, SMU, Temple, South Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Central Florida and football-only Navy.
According to Katz, the AAC is considering rotating sites for its men’s tournament. Hartford, Conn., held the tournament this season. It will move to Orlando in 2018. Those sites and Tulsa are in the mix for a future rotation.
The women’s tournament, Katz wrote, is likely to stay in Uncasville, Conn.
No American or Wichita State officials have publicly confirmed the possibility of expansion.
People at American schools, Wichita State and the Missouri Valley Conference routinely decline comment on the matter because of the sensitivity of the expansion topic.