Individuals representing Wichita State's athletic interests have approached the Mountain West Conference about membership, multiple sources told CBS Sports.
Led by president John Bardo, Wichita State has been exploring its conference options in basketball and football. Last year, Bardo commissioned an ongoing feasibility study to bring football back to the athletic program. The school dropped the sport in 1986.
The 12-member Mountain West has only 11 basketball-playing members; Hawaii plays basketball in the Big West. Wichita State might value its basketball on a larger stage with momentum created by highly successful coach Gregg Marshall.
Through a spokesman, Bardo declined comment.
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said he did not have direct contact with Bardo or Wichita State officials. He added that if Wichita State plans to park its basketball program in a new conference, “It ain't going to be us."
The Missouri Valley Conference is aware of Wichita State's desire for upward mobility. Marshall's success has helped brand the program and the MVC as high mid-major entities -- at least. The Shockers have advanced to a school-record five consecutive NCAA Tournaments, reaching the Final Four in 2013 and going 35-1 in 2013-14.
Wichita State has played in the Missouri Valley since 1946.