CHICAGO–When the new athletic season starts on July first, the Missouri Valley Conference will have 12 members.

That includes three new members, Belmont, Murray State and Illinois Chicago.

The Valley announced Wednesday that the Illinois Chicago Flames will join the conference this summer.

The addition of the Flames puts the conference at a dozen members.

It also insures that the Valley will have a team in the Chicago area.

Loyola is leaving for the Atlantic Ten July first.

Illinois Chicago moved up to division one in 1981 and has won 75 conference championships and made 47 NCAA tournament appearances.