UIC to join Missouri Valley Conference

UIC joins Belmont University and Murray State as newcomers to the conference for the 2022/23 academic year and will be the fourth Illinois school in the conference.

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UIC announced it will leave the Horizon League and join the Missouri Valley Conference. 

UIC announced it will leave the Horizon League and join the Missouri Valley Conference.

Colin Boyle/Sun-Times file photo

After 28 years in the Horizon League, UIC — in its 40th year of Division I competition — will join the Missouri Valley Conference, effective July 1.

UIC chancellor Michael D. Amiridis and athletic director Michael Lipitz made the announcement from the school’s athletic center Wednesday. It was broadcast live on ESPN+.

Longtime Major League Baseball outfielder and former UIC star Curtis Granderson narrated a video that played before Amiridis and Lipitz addressed the media.

‘‘UIC has been a proud member of the Horizon League since 1994,’’ Lipitz said ‘‘We value the rivalries developed over nearly three decades and will look to continue those relationships when scheduling circumstances allow. We also look forward to competing against our Horizon League peers throughout the remainder of the winter and spring seasons this year.’’

UIC will join Belmont and Murray State as newcomers to the Missouri Valley for the 2022-23 academic year. Loyola is in its last season in the conference before moving to the Atlantic 10, but Bradley, Illinois State and Southern Illinois create ample possibilities for new in-state rivalries.

The remaining members of the conference are Drake, Evansville, Indiana State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa and Valparaiso.

UIC earned Division I status in 1981, winning 75 conference championships and making 47 NCAA postseason appearances in the time since. The school was the women’s all-sport champion in the Horizon League in 2020-21 on the strength of conference titles in tennis and softball, as well as runner-up finishes in swimming/diving and volleyball.

‘‘A great addition for the Valley,’’ Missouri Valley commissioner Jeff Jackson said in a statement. ‘‘UIC’s combination of academics, location, facilities, financial commitment to athletic success and leadership will enhance the brand of the MVC and the experiences of our student-athletes.’’

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