CHICAGO, April 19 (UPI) -- Loyola University in Chicago said Friday it was leaving the Horizon League and joining the Missouri Valley Conference effective July 1.
The Missouri Valley effectively replaces Creighton, which is leaving the league to join the new Big East alignment, with Loyola. It is the first change in the Missouri Valley membership since Tulsa left the league in 1996.
Loyola was the last remaining founding member of the Horizon League, which began play in 1979. Evansville is another Horizon League founder now in the Missouri Valley.
"I am pleased to announce that Loyola University Chicago will be joining the Missouri Valley Conference, one of the most historic and competitive in the country," said M. Grace Calhoun, assistant vice president and director of athletics.
"We look forward to re-establishing nationally competitive programs and growing Loyola's modern athletics brand. 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 joins a Missouri Valley lineup that includes: Bradley, Drake, Evansville, Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois and Wichita State.