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Loyola announces exit from Missouri Valley Conference

Loyola Chicago celebrates after winning the MVC Championship last season. Photo courtesy of Loyola University Chicago Athletics

Missouri Valley Conference member Loyola Chicago has become the latest school to join the flurry of conference realignment, announcing on Tuesday that they will leave the MVC for the Atlantic 10 conference, effective for the 2022-23 school year. 

Loyola joined the MVC in 2013 after previously being a member of the Horizon League. Home to 12 MVC-affiliated teams, most notably men’s basketball, the Ramblers spent eight years in the Valley after Creighton left to join the Big East in 2013. 

“The Valley will continue to remain proactive and progressive as we navigate the current collegiate environment,” MVC Commissioner Jeff Jackson said in a statement

Loyola brought national attention to the Valley in 2018 with its Cinderella run to the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament as an 11-seed. After the team took another MVC Championship back to the Rogers Park in 2021, the Ramblers knocked off No. 1-seed Illinois in the Big Dance. 

During its tenure in the MVC, Loyola’s men’s basketball team compiled a record of 169-102, finishing in the top three of the conference standings the last four years. The Ramblers have won a combined eight MVC titles in all sports, including four straight in women’s soccer since 2018. 

The Atlantic 10, which spans from Rhode Island to Missouri, will have 15 member institutions as a result of the addition of Loyola. After Loyola’s move is executed, the conference will have schools in three of the largest markets in the United States: New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. 

“The A-10 is widely regarded as one of the top leagues in the country for its success in competition and in the classroom,” Loyola University president Dr. Jo Ann Rooney said. “This move will continue to grow our visibility at a national level, while at the same time placing us in a league with three other Jesuit institutions. We are confident this is a move that positions Loyola for even greater success, both athletically and academically, in the future.”

The MVC will still retain 10 schools, as Belmont announced earlier that they will be leaving the Ohio Valley Conference for the Valley, effective next academic year. 

Related: Missouri Valley Conference adds Belmont

The MVC currently has no other immediate plans to gain or lose any other member institutions, but Murray State, Texas-Arlington and Kansas City are rumored to have interest in joining the fold, according to Matt Norlander of CBS Sports. Missouri State, a Valley fixture since 1990, may also explore their future conference options, per Wyatt Wheeler of the Springfield News-Leader.

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