Negele Knight (No. 32) navigates around a Loyola-Chicago defender on March 9, 1990, during the Midwestern Collegiate Conference tournament. Photo courtesy of Amy Manfredi, Flyer News archives.
Peter Burtnett | Sports Editor
The Atlantic 10 announced Tuesday the conference will be adding Loyola University Chicago as the 15th school beginning July 1, 2022.
The highest-profile team, Loyola-Chicago men’s basketball, moves over from the Missouri Valley Conference after playing in the conference from 2014 to present. Before that, the Ramblers played in the Horizon League from 2001 to 2013, and in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference from 1979 to 2001. The Dayton Flyers played in the same conference from 1988-93.
During those years when they played in the same conference, the Flyers were 8-2 during the regular season and played the Ramblers twice in the MWCC tournament, winning in the semifinals in 1990 and losing in the first round in 1991. The all-time record for UD against Loyola-Chicago stands at 33-13.
Now, with no Big East pursuit of the Flyers according to Matt Norland of CBS Sports, a new chapter begins as regular competitors for two teams that have had success in the NCAA Tournament in the last decade. The Flyers reached the Elite Eight in 2014 and the Ramblers made a run all the way to the Final Four in 2018 and the Sweet 16 last season.
“I am honored to welcome Loyola University Chicago to the Atlantic 10 Conference, and we look forward to working closely with an exceptional group of administrators, coaches and student-athletes,” Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade said in a conference press release. “Loyola’s commitment to the high-level scholastic achievement of all of its students, coupled with its excellent athletic profile, from success in basketball, soccer and volleyball to outstanding facilities and resources, is a perfect fit for the A-10. The addition expands the A-10 footprint into the Chicago market, giving the conference a presence in three of the top five media markets in the United States.”
Other Rambler sports moving to the A-10, many of which will compete against the Flyers, are: women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country men’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, women’s track and field, and women’s volleyball. Loyola-Chicago also competes in men’s track and field and men’s volleyball (no A-10 competition), both of which the Flyers do not compete in. Loyola-Chicago and Dayton both compete in women’s golf, but the A-10 does not have a women’s golf competition.
“Making this transition will enhance the experience for our world-class student-athletes, and they, along with our coaches and staff, are thrilled to be joining the Atlantic 10 Conference, which is one of the most prestigious leagues in college athletics,” Loyola Athletic Director Steve Watson said in the same A-10 press release. “We are extremely grateful for our time in the Missouri Valley Conference, which has provided a wonderful home for Rambler Athletics for nearly a decade. We also look forward to renewing some rivalries as well helping build the Loyola brand as a member of the A-10.”