Western Illinois University Leathernecks Are Leaving the MVFC in 2024

Conference realignment has become such a big topic in all circles of college athletics. Today WIU announced that they will be leaving the MVFC for the OVC.

Western Illinois football team takes the field
Source: WIU Athletics Media

Western Illinois University Director of Athletics Paul A. Bubb announced today (Friday, May 12) that the Leathernecks are becoming the newest members of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) for all of the University's Division I Athletics programs. The agreement between the University and the OVC was signed by WIU President Guiyou Huang Friday morning.

WIU will exit all other sports from the Summit League in the fall of 2023 and football will leave the MVFC in the fall of 2024.

Western Illinois, which is located in Macomb, Illinois, marks only the 25th full-time member in the 75-year history of the Ohio Valley Conference.

"We are delighted Western Illinois has decided to join the OVC," said OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche. "The WIU athletics programs have long competed against OVC institutions given the similarity of programs and geographic proximity. Accordingly, there is a high-level of comfort and excitement about the Leathernecks becoming part of the OVC community. We cannot wait to extend a warm welcome to WIU's student-athletes, coaches, administrators and fans."

"This is going to be an excellent new endeavor for Western Illinois University," said Dr. Huang. "We are excited to join our peers of similar size and communities, and we look forward to great competition."

WIU received an invitation from the OVC Board President Thursday to join the conference, effective July 1.

Western Illinois will join the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Eastern Illinois University, Lindenwood University, Morehead State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, University of Southern Indiana, Tennessee State University, Tennessee Technological University and the University of Tennessee at Martin as OVC full member institutions.

WIU will also be the seventh football team in the OVC football conference,
joining Southeast Missouri State University , University of Tennessee - Martin, Eastern Illinois University, Lindenwood University, Morehead State University, Tennessee State University, and Tennessee Technological University.