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Loyola leaves Horizon League for Missouri Valley

Updated: May 15, 2013 7:19AM



Loyola University, one of four schools considered by the Missouri Valley Conference to replace departing Creighton, will accept the conference’s invitation to join this summer.

The move from the Horizon League was confirmed Saturday by school sources, who said details of the formal agreement are expected to be completed this week, paving the way for formal admission July 1.

The choice of Loyola comes after Valley officials considered four schools — UIC, Loyola and Valparaiso of the Horizon League and Missouri-Kansas City from the Summit League — to replace Creighton, which will move this summer to the new Big East.

Of those schools, officials from the Valley were most interested in targeting a Chicago school to add the metropolitan area to its territory. The schools were visited by Valley officials in the last few weeks, with each school’s athletic facilities and programs being reviewed.

Loyola has undertaken extensive building in recent years, opening its multipurpose athletic facility, the Norville Center, in 2011 and a remodeled Gentile Arena playing facility for its men’s and women’s basketball programs.

Loyola doesn’t offer baseball or tennis, sports in which Valley schools compete. But those sports are offered at other ­Horizon League schools, and that issue didn’t become a negative for the Ramblers.

The move likely will mean Loyola will make a greater financial commitment to its athletics programs as travel considerations and recruiting expand. Loyola is expected to announce the move Friday.



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