Sports Illustrated sources say Wichita State could move to the AAC … – Wichita Eagle

Wichita State’s potential move to the American Athletic Conference could happen for the 2017-18 season, according to Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel.

Thamel’s sources contradict a story by ESPN earlier this month that reported the move would happen in 2018-19.

“There’s strong mutual interest between both sides, and sources said that a final decision could be made within the next month or in as few as the next two weeks,” Thamel wrote. “Any decision would need to be approved by the American Athletic Conference’s presidents, but the mutual interest is strong enough where neither side sees any looming issues.”

Thamel’s sources said both sides would prefer Wichita State join the conference soon and participate in 2017-18 in all sports. Football is not a part of the discussion.

The Shockers do not want to spend an uncomfortable year in the Missouri Valley Conference as a departing member. The American likely wants to add a Shocker men’s basketball team that will start the season nationally ranked.

“The incentive for the AAC to act now comes down to NCAA units, which are worth nearly $1.6 million for every NCAA game that a team plays in,” Thamel wrote. “If Wichita State’s stout team makes a deep run next season, the potential haul of units —which are shared by the conference — would make an expedited timeline look wise.”

AAC members are Houston, Memphis, Tulsa, Tulane, SMU, Temple, South Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Central Florida and football-only Navy.

Adding WSU would give the AAC a 12th basketball school.

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jgreen@wichitaeagle.com

 

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