Missouri State Accepts Invitation To Conference USA Beginning July 2025

Missouri State University has accepted an invitation to join Conference USA as a full-league member effective July 1, 2025.

Missouri State is currently in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), and the school will retain its membership with the MVC through the 2024-25 season before moving next year.

The move, announced Friday with a news conference scheduled for Monday, was primarily made to place the Bears in the NCAA’s Division I Football Subdivision (FBS), which it will join for the first time.

“This is an exciting day for Missouri State,” said MSU President Clif Smart. “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.”

Conference USA does not currently sponsor a swimming & diving conference championship meet, but as of 2025-26, will have five schools with swim & dive programs:

  • Missouri State
  • Delaware
  • FIU (women only)
  • Liberty (women only)
  • New Mexico State (women only)

This past season, Delaware competed in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) Championships, FIU raced in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Championships, Liberty competed in the Atlantic Sun (ASUN) Championships, and New Mexico State contested the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championship meet.

The Missouri State women have won eight consecutive MVC titles, outscoring runner-up Indiana State by over 150 points to win the 2024 title in February, while the conference doesn’t sponsor a men’s swim & dive championship. The Bears men’s team competes at the Mid-American Conference Championships, coming off a second-place finish this past season behind Miami (OH).

The school says that more information regarding league affiliation for Missouri State’s teams that are not sponsored by Confernece USA, that being swimming & diving and men’s soccer, will be available in the coming months.

Missouri State will become the 12th full-time member of Conference USA, with Kennesaw State University officially joining on July 1, 2024.

  • Florida International University (FIU), Miami, Florida
  • Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama
  • Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia
  • Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana
  • Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas
  • University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), El Paso, Texas
  • Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia (joining July 1, 2024)
  • University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware (joining July 1, 2025)

“We are so excited for the opportunities that CUSA membership will bring to our university, our student-athletes, our coaches and our fans,” said Director of Athletics Kyle Moats. “This move represents a transition to a national brand and a platform that will help raise the profile of Missouri State University and the city of Springfield. The steps we have taken over the past 15 years to invest in a successful broad-based athletics program have prepared us for this long-awaited moment.”

“This move will absolutely open doors for us,” Moats explained. “For our student-athletes, they will have less bus travel and more flights which will get them back to campus in a safer and more-timely manner. They will also have more financial resources at their disposal for cost of attendance, Alston funds, and a more strategic presence in the name, image and likeness (NIL) space.”

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oxyswim
1 month ago

The Missouri Valley Conference not having a school in Missouri seems strange. The conference didn’t sponsor swimming and diving until now, they just announced the addition this spring.

I have a hard time seeing the benefit of this change for most sports at Mo State. The travel for in-conference competition is brutal, and as a mid-major they don’t have the budget to make that work in the same way that power 2.5 schools do.

I_Said_It
Reply to  oxyswim
1 month ago

Name which school is in the Ohio Valley Conference.

I’ll wait.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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