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Murray State leaving OVC for Missouri Valley on July 1

NCAA Basketball: Missouri Valley Conference Tournament-Drake vs Northern Iowa

Mar 5, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; A general view of an empty Enterprise Canter prior to a quarterfinals game of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament between the Drake Bulldogs and the Northern Iowa Panthers. The game was cancelled. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

MURRAY, Ky. - Murray State will become the 11th member of the Missouri Valley Conference on July 1.

University officials announced Friday the Board of Regents accepted an invitation from the Missouri Valley Conference and will be leaving the Ohio Valley Conference.

The MVC does not include football or rifle, so Murray State is working to join the Missouri Valley Football Conference in that sport. Murray State’s rifle program, which is sixth in the nation, will continue competing in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Murray State is the second OVC program to announce plans to join the Missouri Valley Conference on July 1. Belmont announced Sept. 28 the Bruins had accepted their invitation to join the league.

Austin Peay announced Sept. 17 it was leaving the OVC on July 1 for the ASUN. Both Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State left the OVC for the ASUN earlier this year, and the OVC sued both schools in August contending each school didn’t pay a $1 million exit fee.

The Ohio Valley Conference has added the University of Little Rock starting July 1 and reached a football scheduling deal with the Southland Conference starting in 2022. OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche said in a statement the league is talking with universities about joining the conference.