CUSA Adds Missouri State, Bears to Join in 2025

May 10—DALLAS — Conference USA announces Missouri State will join the league on July 1, 2025, bringing the conference's membership to 12 universities.

"We are extremely excited to welcome Missouri State University as the 12th member of Conference USA," said Commissioner Judy MacLeod. "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."

A news conference will be held on Monday, May 13, at 1 p.m. CT at Great Southern Bank Arena to formally announce the transition plans. The event is open to the public.

"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."

Missouri State, a current affiliate member in beach volleyball, will begin competing in baseball, men's and women's basketball, women's cross country, football, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, softball, women's tennis, women's track & field, and volleyball as a full conference member beginning in 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."

MSU holds the higher-level classification of doctoral and professional studies from The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, while the university's College of Business is the university of choice for Midwest business students with its fully accredited classification from the Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Located in the fastest growing part of the state, it has experienced a steady increase in enrollment, currently at almost 26,000 students. Athletics plays a key role at the university, reflected by competitive and academic success, along with a continued commitment to improving the overall student-athlete experience.

In 2022-23, Missouri State finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy standings, fueled by five regular- and postseason league titles. The Bears have been the runner-up for three straight seasons in the conference all-sports trophy race, with five previous titles to their credit.

Missouri State has a tradition of athletic success with 79 NCAA D1 postseason appearances, including 23 in men's and women's basketball, as well as 120 individual NCAA qualifiers and 103 total postseason appearances. In its history, MSU has qualified for 17 NCAA women's basketball tournaments, highlighted by two Final Four appearances, and six NCAA men's basketball appearances including a Sweet 16, as well as 10 trips to the NIT. The baseball program has made one appearance in the College World Series, along with three Super Regionals. MSU has hosted 10 NCAA Division I tournament/championship events, most recently football (2021) and men's soccer (2023). MSU's men's and women's basketball programs have compiled 19 regular season conference titles and 14 conference tournament championships. Missouri State has also hosted 59 conference championship events, including 10 women's basketball tournaments.

Missouri State is committed to continually improving facilities with upgrades totaling nearly $22 million in the past 15 years, including the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Academic Achievement Center project, the MSU Basketball Complex at Great Southern Bank Arena, and new or renovated home facilities for 12 of MSU's 17 sports.

The addition of Missouri State also adds to the academic pedigree of Conference USA. The Bears have had more than 100 student-athlete graduates each of the last 10 years, including a record of 142 student-athletes earning degrees in 2022 — 23. Last fall, 68% of student-athletes achieved a 3.0 GPA or better, 44% with a 3.5 GPA or better and 18% earned a 4.0. The Bears also boast 89 Academic All-Americans and have earned several conference scholar-athlete awards.

Missouri State student-athletes also support the school's public affairs mission by actively engaging with 25 community partners.