ST. LOUIS -- For the first time in 20 years the Missouri Valley Conference is adding an institution, as the MVC President’s Council unanimously voted to extend a membership invitation to Loyola University Chicago, and the Ramblers will begin full participation in all of its sponsored sports effective for the 2013-14 season.
”This is a historic moment for the Missouri Valley and for Loyola University, and we strongly believe in the commitment and the potential that is very evident with this institution,” said Commissioner Doug Elgin. “Their University leadership has made a very significant investment in athletics facilities and in staffing in recent years, and we are confident that Loyola is going to be a great competitive fit in our Conference.”
“The MVC has a great reputation and a strong competitive profile both in athletics and academics,” said University President Michael J. Garanzini, S.J. “I believe this partnership with the Missouri Valley Conference will enhance our national visibility and have a positive impact on the experience of our student-athletes.”
“We are very honored to have received this invitation to join the Missouri Valley Conference, one of the most historic and competitive conference in the country. We look forward to reestablishing nationally competitive programs and growing Loyola’s modern athletics brand,” Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics Dr. M. Grace Calhoun said. “I am confident Loyola will not only be a strong and valued new member of the conference athletically, but will also enhance the reputation of the conference through the addition of a world-class university in a world-class city with student athletes who excel academically, athletically, and in life.”
Loyola has a long tradition with several Missouri Valley Conference schools having previously played each of next season’s other nine Valley members in men’s and women’s basketball, facing Bradley (47 times in men’s basketball and 26 times in women’s basketball) more than any other league member.
ABOUT LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO
Founded in 1870 as St. Ignatius College, Loyola University Chicago is the nation’s largest Jesuit Catholic university and the only one located in Chicago. This past year, the Ramblers celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1962-63 men’s basketball national championship. That team will be the first-ever inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
Loyola sponsors the following sports: Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Men’s and Women’s Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Men’s and Women’s Track & Field (indoor and outdoor), Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Men’s and Women’s Golf and Softball. [The Missouri Valley Conference offers championships in all of those sports, except Men’s Volleyball. The Valley also has championships for Baseball, Men’s and Women’s Tennis, and Women’s Swimming.]
Loyola was a charter member of the Horizon League, having competed as a member of that conference for the past 17 seasons. The Ramblers entered the spring ranked No. 1 in the Horizon all-sports standings.
ABOUT THE MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE
Founded in 1907, the Missouri Valley Conference is the nation’s second-oldest Division I athletic conference (second only to the Big Ten Conference). In its first 106 years, the Valley has had 32 members, spanning 13 states, which includes three current members from the state of Illinois. Loyola University is the league’s first member from the city of Chicago.
Current MVC membership (as of July 1, 2013) includes Bradley University (Peoria, Ill.); Drake University (Des Moines, Iowa); the University of Evansville (Evansville, Ind.); Illinois State University (Bloomington-Normal, Ill.); Indiana State University (Terre Haute, Ind.); Loyola University Chicago (Chicago, Ill.); Missouri State University (Springfield, Mo.); the University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, Iowa); Southern Illinois University (Carbondale); and Wichita State University (Wichita, Kan.).
Before Creighton University’s announcement in March 2013 that it would be leaving the Missouri Valley Conference on June 30, 2013, the last change in membership in the Valley occurred in 1996 when the University of Tulsa left the MVC to join the Western Athletic Conference. The University of Evansville was the last institution to be added to the MVC, as the Purple Aces first competed as a member of the MVC in 1994-95.