It’s official, Wichita State is moving to the American Athletic Conference. The open-secret of the Shockers’ transfer from the Missouri Valley Conference was confirmed with a unanimous vote by the AAC board of directors on Friday afternoon.
“We are pleased and proud to welcome Wichita State to The American,” said AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco. “This is a University with a strong athletic and academic heritage which shares our conference’s commitment to excellence, and we look forward to having them as a member. The University has an exceptionally strong tradition of success in men’s basketball and baseball.
This is not a move that will strengthen the burgeoning AAC football scene; it is a move predominantly about basketball and NCAA Tournament revenues – the most lucrative pathway to large conference revenue shares.
Wichita State touts six consecutive tickets to March Madness, and even entered the 2017 tournament with top-ten odds at the whole title. They went 30-4 in the regular season and still were given a rough deal by the selection committee as a designated ten-seed.
Post-season play generated $3,423,568.00 for the MVC from Wichita State – a significant chunk of change in comparison to the $5,135,352.00 paid out to the American this season.
Money aside, the transfer is not just a one-sided finance grab from the directors of the AAC. It is a symbiotic transfer that provides increased competition, tournament consideration and cash flows to the conference while rounding out the basketball programs to an even twelve teams.
In turn, the school will have a schedule that carries more influence and broadcast deals that increase their national exposure. Taking advantage of the American Athletic Conference’s platform will aid in rectifying the continuous under-seeding of Wichita State’s regular season efforts.
UCF will potentially receive similar dividends from the strengthened conference standing, grabbing a bit more national attention and influence towards a future tournament bid.
Better seeding directly quantifies into more tournament wins. More tournament wins are money in the bank.