Q: When does Wichita State join the American?
A: July 1.
Q: When is Wichita State’s final competition as a Missouri Valley Conference member?
A: Shocker baseball will play in the MVC Tournament beginning May 24 in Springfield, Mo. Those games will mark the final scheduled events with MVC members.
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WSU could represent the MVC in the NCAA track and field meet (June 7-10). NCAA softball and baseball tournaments run well into June.
Q: When will Wichita State first compete as an AAC member?
A: While schedules are not set, Wichita State’s volleyball and cross country teams generally open their seasons in late August.
WSU’s first competition against another AAC member will come in volleyball in late September. The cross country teams will compete for the school’s first AAC titles in late October or early November.
Q: Is football coming back?
A: Football began to drop from the discussion at Wichita State last fall as officials decided deciding on conference affiliation had to come first.
While the football question won’t go away, university president John Bardo put it far down the list of priorities. There is no urgency to delve into that complicated sport when the athletic department is faced with a new reality.
“For us, this is a major change,” Bardo said. “We are not going to talk about football for awhile. My excitement and interest, right now, is let’s do this right. Then let’s come back and talk about other things later.”
Q: Does this affect Wichita State’s role as co-host of the 2018 NCAA Tournament games at Intrust Bank Arena?
A: No. WSU will work with the MVC, as planned since awarded the games in 2014. Athletic director Darron Boatright ruled out WSU dropping out of that role. Since WSU is hosting, its men’s basketball team cannot play in the downtown Wichita arena.
“We asked the Valley to co-host with us because of their experience in running first and second rounds and regionals,” he said. “We’re not interested in trying to get out of it. We wanted to bring that event here for the citizens of Wichita.”
Q: How does this affect Wichita State basketball on TV?
A: It means many more national games and, probably, fewer locally produced games. WSU’s contract with Cox Kansas expires after the 2017-18 season.
For example, last season’s AAC men’s basketball package included 13 regular-season conference games on ESPN or ESPN2, 25 on ESPNU, 23 on ESPNews and two on CBS. Those numbers dwarf the exposure through the Valley’s TV package.
“The number of games that are televised nationally, regionally will change dramatically because of the arrangements the American already has in place,” Boatright said.
The American’s TV contracts expire after the 2019-20 season, which means negotiations for future deals are not far away.
Q: What happens next for the MVC?
A: MVC presidents and athletic directors meet Sunday in St. Louis to discuss the future.
Many of the same names that emerged in 2013, after Creighton departed, will be examined.
Valparaiso, Belmont, Murray State, Nebraska-Omaha, Illinois-Chicago, North Dakota State, North Dakota, South Dakota State and South Dakota are schools commonly linked to the MVC. All possess some kind of geographic or competitive link to the MVC.
On Friday, Jon Rothstein of Fanragsports.com reported that the MVC is considering an 11-team conference with Valparaiso (Horizon League) and Murray State (Ohio Valley Conference) as additions.
That move would snap up two of the most prominent mid-major schools available. In that scenario, schools would play a 20-game round robin.
Also on Friday, UMKC lobbied for consideration.
“Obviously we would love to be considered,” UMKC athletic director Carla Wilson told the Kansas City Star. “If we could be more regional with our conference affiliation that would create some geographic rivalries, help our travel and be a benefit to us.”
Q: What happens to the regular-season game against Tulsa, now that the Golden Hurricane is again a conference rival?
A: Unclear, according to Boatright. The most likely result is that it becomes a conference game. WSU will almost certainly play Tulsa twice during the regular season, although the schedules are not set.
Q: Will Wichita State move an AAC game to Intrust Bank Arena?
A: Boatright said that is a possibility for men's and women's basketball, perhaps hinting at a visit by the UConn women's team.