From WPSD Sports, Paducah
Murray State is staying in the Ohio Valley Conference after the Missouri Valley Conference decided against inviting Murray State. The MVC is looking to replace the departing Wichita State for the 2017-18 school year. The MVC was reportedly looking at four schools to potentially join their conference: Murray State, Valparaiso, Milwaukee, and Nebraska-Omaha. Late Tuesday morning, the Missouri Valley Conference announced Valparaiso would be the only team they would be adding. A conference spokesperson released the following statement:
“The Missouri Valley Conference Presidents Council has unanimously voted to extend a membership invitation to Valparaiso University, effective July 1, 2017. There will be no further comment pending the negotiation of terms.”
After learning Murray State would not get an invitation to join the Missouri Valley Conference, Murray State Director of Athletics Allen Ward released this statement:
“Today I was notified that Murray State will not be receiving an invitation to join the Missouri Valley Conference. I am in no way disappointed by the news or have any regrets being involved in the process. Our goals and objectives to graduate our student-athletes, win championships, promote this great university, and be a player on the national scene have not changed and were never reliant on the outcome today.
We’re a proud program with a rich history that I’ll compare to anyone. Our passionate fans are fully engaged with our program and provide a solid foundation for our success. We’ve won four conference championships this year alone and there are many more championship banners in our exceptionally bright future.
We’re founding members of a league that we have represented proudly since 1948. We have the highest regard for the many friends, colleagues and rivals we have in the OVC. I want to convey my sincerest gratitude for the manner in which they handled the past few weeks. I’m grateful for their professionalism and friendship.
The upcoming season provides Racer fans with some incredible opportunities to follow their team, impact the success of the conference, and again prove why Murray State is one of the finest mid-major programs in the country. There are so many good things happening here, I couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming year and the future of this program.”
This may not be the end of the Missouri Valley Conference’s expansion plans. Missouri State president Clif Smart tweeted Tuesday morning: “The expansion committee will continue to meet for the next 9 months to evaluate further expansion opportunities.” Where Murray State fits into those evaluations remains to be seen.
Murray State will remain in the Ohio Valley Conference for the 2017-18 season.