CHICAGO (CBS) -- It's official – the UIC Flames are stepping up conferences this summer.
They are joining what will be a 12-team Missouri Valley Conference after spending the last 28 years in the Horizon League.
UIC will have new rivalries with schools like Valparaiso, Bradley, SIU, and Illinois State. That is a big step up in competition from the Horizon League.
"It is a challenge. It's a step up in competition, and we do embrace that," said UIC Athletic Director Michael Lipitz. "You know, when you want to be the best, you have to play the best in athletics, and our coaches and staff – they are so fired up to take on that challenge. This move is going to open new doors for us in recruiting, and just elevate everything that we do."
"Make no mistake about it – there's a lot of hard work to be done in our program, and then obviously in every sport, to compete at the level that you have to, to win a championship and cut down a net," said UIC Men's Basketball Coach Luke Yaklich.
Meanwhile, Loyola is leaving the MVC this offseason for the A10. The Valley is making room for UIC, Belmont, and Murray State.
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