Kennesaw State to join Conference USA in 2024

By Kevin Kelley -

The Kennesaw State Owls will join Conference USA beginning with the 2024 season, it was officially announced on Friday.

Kennesaw State will officially join Conference USA effective  on July 1, 2024.

“Today is an important day as we formally welcome Kennesaw State University to Conference USA,” Conference USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod said. “The addition of this growing university continues to build upon our strong foundation and we are excited to partner with President Schwaig and KSU’s leadership team to transform our membership and strategically position the conference for long-term success.”

Kennesaw State University, located in Kennesaw, Ga., is currently a member of the ASUN Conference in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). KSU’s football program played its first season in 2015 and has won three Big South championships.

“On behalf of Kennesaw State University, I am pleased to formally accept the invitation to join Conference USA,” KSU President Kat Schwaig said. “This step was not one taken lightly, but with thoughtful review and analysis of the benefits to elevated competition for our student-athletes, the expanded opportunities for research and academic engagement and the advancement of a unique and exciting student experience at KSU. I appreciate the work of Commissioner MacLeod and the support of the university presidents in Conference USA, and look forward to an exciting future of athletic rivalry and collaboration.”

The Owls play their football games about a mile from their main campus at Fifth Third Bank Stadium, which currently has a seating capacity of 8,318.

“This is a great day for all of Owl Nation as our ascent into Conference USA will help the Owls soar to new landmarks. I am most excited for our student-athletes, coaches, and staffs that have worked so hard to represent KSU,” Kennesaw State Director of Athletics Milton Overton said. “Our student-athletes will have an opportunity to showcase their talent on a larger stage. President Schwaig’s leadership played a pivotal role in this opportunity, and I am grateful for her and all those that made this possible. I look forward to new opportunities and achievements for KSU within a conference that has a history of growing the brands of its members.”

Comments (13)

I hope my Faith in KSU Owls Athletics is founded on basic fulfilling of agreed upon Contracts & with Good Faith Effort to treat your current Conference as you have your past Conference & future Conference.

When big unforeseen Changes have to be made, if your do them with good Faith considerations your Future will come through the bumps, bruised, rocky, rugged social Terrain better than when you throw basic social & business contract Courtesies under the Bus of expediency.

Sam Houston State Uni. Bearkats are doing transition the right Way. So are Jacksonville State Uni. Gamecocks.
James Madison Uni. Dukes R transitioning the right Way.
I don’t know yet about the 1A Trust Five Conference to Conference transitions.

The bad Models of conference Transitions are more numerous than the benevolent Ones. The Universities involved are in the history Books. The bad models of behavior caused the death of the W.A.C. as a 1A Conference.
The reduction of the 1AA Football W.A.C. Teams to non conference Status indefinitely by 1 former & 1 current Southland conference Teams.
C-USA is the One directly affected by the 3 brand new SBC transfer Schools.

C-USA could see further changes, if the Big 12 decides to add more schools in 2025 setting off a ripple effect:

The schools in the American I see joining the Big 12 in 2025 are Memphis, SMU, South Florida, Temple, and Tulane. Plus Boise State of the MW. A huge reason why the Big 12 should get a large increase in rights fees with this 18-team alignment is because they would have so many schools in major markets. Believe it or not, markets matter and so do their size.

The American’s own 14-team experiment would end, and C-USA would lose its last pre-2022 major market schools, FIU and Middle Tennessee, to the American.

Four more schools that could join C-USA in 2025 are Austin Peay, Central Arkansas, McNeese, and North Alabama.

C-USA would organize into two 6-team divisions as they did from 2005-13:

East: Austin Peay, Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State, Liberty, North Alabama, Western Kentucky
West: Central Arkansas, Louisiana Tech, McNeese, New Mexico State, Sam Houston, UTEP

North Alabama joining C-USA in this timeframe would be notable because they would be going from D-II to FBS in less than a decade. If they begin their FBS transition in 2024, they would have only been an eligible FCS member for 2 seasons.

I think The American would be interested in WKU as well. Close enough to Louisville, Lexington and Nashville to add some eyeballs. Plus they have a strong overall athletic department. But that’s just a guess. We really don’t know…

The silly acceleration of FCS schools to FBS will only serve to accelerate the severance of the autonomy conferences. A formal split into three tier Division I groups is now inevitable.

Started the team in 2015. Wow. Charlotte started football in 2013 and is finishing its CUSA time (2015-2022 for Football).

I wish the best for Kennesaw State here, but…

A lot of students (40,000 +) but an endowment at $40M (likely under the athletic budget for Louisville), which would likely be below endowments for ANY MAC school.

The football stadium seats 8,000+.

C-USA’s need to survive is becoming painful to watch. Add to the fact that WKU and MTSU will leave when their grant of rights has expired. The MAC will be the path of least resistance for WKU and MTSU.

As Tom in GA pointed out, a D-I split is inevitable.


What Year is C-USA grant of Rights expiring next?

Dan-ke for the student Population & current FB stadium seating.

Unfortunately, my Opinion regarding the NCAA’s cooperation with the Trust Five Conferences by doing nothing to improve 1A football from the ‘status quo’ of acquiesce to whatever Rule changes the Trust Five Members want is a Negative One based on the $$$ & newer bylaw’s Trails of 1990 to Now.

WKU wanted to leave for the MAC, but the MAC wouldn’t let them in without travel partner MTSU who torpedoed the deal as they didn’t want to sign the MAC’s ~20 year GOR and would prefer to collect exit fees from the departing members. Both have pretty much burned their bridge with the SBC.

The Big XII doesn’t want those schools, they want Arizona/ASU/Colorado/Utah once Oregon & Washington get a call from a 847 area code

That’s not happening the remaining Pac-12 schools are all committed to staying in the conference.

When ‘conference realignment’ first began in 2003, the one core dynamic that has remained constant during its existence, is the recipient conference is left stronger while the donor conference is rendered weaker. As this process cascades forward, the subsequent donor conferences become recipient conferences as they raid the lesser conferences. When there are no worthy constituents to be found in any of the remaining any lesser conferences, the process stops. As Tom in GA points out, they are now ‘poaching’ FCS schools. That is not ‘conference realignment’ – that is conference denial of its viability and that it has passed into antiquity. (See the Big East and the WAC after 2012 or the Big West after 2002.)

We all know that there are soon to be two super conferences (B1G and SEC); two power conferences (ACC and PAC-12); one (slightly above) average conference (Big 12); two (slightly below) average conferences (AAC and MWC) and: two (well below) average conferences (Sun Belt and the MAC). Conference USA, will have gone the way of the phone pager.

The salient discussion is whether the 10 remnants of the PAC-12 eat the 8 remnants of the Big-12 or vice versa.

I would swap the Big 12 and the Pac 12, but otherwise you are right.
For example, the current AAC, which has a lot of former C-USA teams in it, is probably worse than C-USA was in 2002.
Imagine if that 12 team & Conference Championship Game bylaw never existed…