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South Dakota joins Missouri Valley

Vermillion, SD (Sports Network) - The University of South Dakota accepted an invitation on Thursday to join the Missouri Valley Football Conference as its 10th member, beginning with the 2012-13 academic year.

South Dakota accepted the invitation one day after receiving it from MVFC commissioner Patty Viverito. It is the last of the five Great West Conference programs to announce its future direction. The other four programs joined the Big Sky Conference in all sports, an invitation that also was made to South Dakota.

South Dakota's decision to join the MVFC in football cements its position in the Summit League. The Coyotes were granted admission into the Summit League in April 2009, and will become a full-fledged member of the conference on July 1, 2011.

"I am excited to accept this offer extended to South Dakota from the Missouri Valley Football Conference," South Dakota president James W. Abbott said. "Throughout the Division I transition, we have worked to extend USD's footprint and by joining the MVFC we are continuing that. This move is the most appealing to us because of renewed rivalries, reduction of student- athlete travel time and more cost efficient travel."

"To join a league as strong as the Missouri Valley Football Conference is a great step forward for South Dakota athletics and the university as a whole," athletic director David Sayler said. "The MVFC is an established group with regional ties to some exciting rivalries and that is what college football is built on."

South Dakota is in its third year of transition to Division I status.

The MVFC consists of Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, Western Illinois and Youngstown State.

North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Western Illinois already compete in both the MVFC and the Summit League.

11/04 14:36:33 ET