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Missouri State joins Conference USA: League set to add Bears as full-time member in July 2025

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USATSI

The FBS is set to grow once more as the college football landscape continues to shift. Conference USA announced Friday that Missouri State will join its league as a member institution on on July 1, 2025, bringing another FCS program into its swelling ranks. 

“We are extremely excited to welcome Missouri State University as the 12th member of Conference USA,” C-USA commissioner Judy MacLeod said in a statement. “The institution boasts a great tradition in athletics and academics that will strengthen and further position our membership for long term success in the national landscape.  We look forward to our partnership with President Clif Smart, incoming President Dr. Biff Williams, Director of Athletics Kyle Moats, and their entire leadership team.”  

C-USA has steadily rebuilt its membership after the latest wave of conference realignment, jumpstarted by Texas and Oklahoma’s move to the SEC three years ago, left the conference gutted. Liberty, Jacksonville State and Sam Houston — in its first season as an FBS program– joined C-USA ahead of the 2023 season. 

Kennesaw State will start competing as a conference member in July. Delaware will join Missouri State in making the jump from the FCS level in 2025. 

Missouri State is already an affiliate member of C-USA in beach volleyball, though 2025 will represent a move to full membership with competition in all sports. 

“This is an exciting day for Missouri State,” Missouri State president Clif Smart said. “The opportunities associated with membership in an FBS conference allows us to continue to expand as a university and raise our reputation to the next level. We have valued our membership in the Missouri Valley Conference – a premier conference in the NCAA — and look forward to a final year in the league before we transition to CUSA.”    

Missouri State last made the FCS Playoff in 2021 under former coach Bobby Petrino, who now serves as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas. The Bears went 4-7 in 2023 under first-year coach Ryan Beard. 

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