(WTNH)–Get ready, Huskies fans. Soon, you might be able to take a trip out to beautiful southeastern Kansas, to see your team take on the mighty Wheat Shockers of Wichita State!
Now this is what college athletics is all about.
This, and you know…the student-athlete.
The American Athletic Conference is seriously considering adding Wichita State, according to multiple reports over the weekend.
The conference, according to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, is looking to upgrade its men’s basketball profile. It’s not yet clear whether or not Wichita State would compete in football as well.
A recent push to add Division 1 FBS football at Wichita State has reportedly lost momentum after a feasibility study found it would cost around $50 million. Wichita State has not played football since 1986. They’ve competed in the Missouri Valley Conference since 1946.
Adding the Shockers in basketball makes sense, for a few reasons.
For one thing, the AAC only has 11 basketball schools–not 12, like it does in football, because Navy plays basketball in the Patriot League. The Shockers just won the Missouri Valley Conference title on Sunday, and have been on a euphoric run in the last eight years under head coach Gregg Marshall.
Wichita State has won five Missouri Valley Conference titles in seven years, advanced to the Final Four in 2013, and completed an undefeated regular season and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2014.
Marshall signed a $3.3 million contract extension to remain with the school in 2015.
Adding Wichita State would also give the league another mid-southwestern school, joining Tulsa, SMU and Houston in Big 12 territory. As @NoEscalators pointed out on Monday, it would move the geographic center of the AAC to Harvest, Alabama, quite the trip from Storrs.
CBS’ Dennis Dodd reported on Friday that to add Wichita State, the American Athletic Conference would have to notify ESPN, because of changes to its TV contract. The current contract expires in 2019.
According to Dodd, VCU and Dayton were also being considered as basketball-only adds.