Racers staying put in OVC

Photo courtesy of MVC Sports

Story by Blake Sandlin, Assistant Sports Editor

Murray State will not receive an invitation to the Missouri Valley Conference, according to a statement from the athletics office.

The Missouri Valley Conference President’s Council met Monday to discuss conference expansion. Ultimately, the council concluded the Racers will not be the school to fill the void left by Wichita State, which left April 7 to join the American Athletic Conference.

Allen Ward, director of athletics, released a statement Tuesday morning, assuring the Murray State community the Missouri Valley’s decision will have no effect on the future of the university.

“I am in no way disappointed by the news or have any regrets being involved in the process,” Ward said. “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.”

The invitation for the 10th spot in the conference instead will go to Valparaiso University, from the Horizon League. The conference announced the membership will be effective July 1.

The University of Nebraska Omaha and the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee were the other schools considered for bids. MVC officials spent recent weeks visiting each school.

The Racers were founding members of the Ohio Valley Conference in 1948. Ward expressed his gratitude toward the conference for its conduct throughout expansion discussions.

“We have the highest regard for the many friends, colleagues and rivals we have in the OVC,” Ward said. “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.”

Missouri State President Clif Smart said on social media the expansion committee will continue to evaluate expansion opportunities for the next nine months.

Ward will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. Tuesday to discuss details of the expansion.