By: Anthony Goss
CHICAGO — Loyola University at Chicago has accepted an invitation to join the Atlantic 10 conference beginning in the 2022-23 academic year, the school announced yesterday.
The move comes amid major conference realignment developments in collegiate athletics within the 2021 year.
“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,” said A-10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade. “The addition expands the A-10 footprint into the Chicago market, giving the conference a presence in three of the top four media markets in the United States.”
Loyola participates in 13 of the 21 sponsored sports by the A-10, but the move carries the largest weight in men’s basketball. In three of the last four seasons, the Ramblers have won at least a share of the Missouri Valley regular-season championship. The Ramblers reached the Sweet 16 last season and the Final Four in 2018.
St. Bonaventure has its own connection to Loyola athletics. Current Loyola-Chicago director of athletics Steve Watson previously served as the director of athletics at Bona’s. Watson hired Mark Schmidt in 2007, who revitalized the men’s basketball team by leading the Bonnies to their first A-10 conference title in program history in 2012. The women’s program had its best season to date, going 31-4 and reaching the Sweet 16
Besides the basketball programs, St. Bonaventure’s women’s soccer team qualified for the conference tournament in six straight seasons and both men’s and women’s cross country had historic seasons.
Watson oversaw several athletic facility improvements and upgrades in his tenure at St. Bonaventure, most notably the unveiling of Bob Lanier Court.