Missouri State to move up from FCS, join Conference USA in 2025

By Kevin Kelley -

The Missouri State Bears will move up from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and join Conference USA in 2025, it was announced on Friday.

The move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) from the FCS will cost the Bears a $5 million application fee, which was previously only $5,000 under NCAA bylaws.

“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 has been a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC), formerly the Gateway Football Conference, since the 1985 season. Prior to joining the MVFC, the Bears competed in the Mid-Continent Conference from 1981 through 1984.

“We are so excited for the opportunities that CUSA membership will bring to our university, our student-athletes, our coaches and our fans,” said MSU 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.”

Missouri State has made four appearances in the FCS Playoffs. Most recently, the Bears played in the post-season under former head coach Bobby Petrino in 2020 and 2021.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Missouri State University as the 12th member of Conference USA,” said CUSA 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.”

With the addition of Missouri State in 2025, Conference USA will expand to 12 members. The Delaware Blue Hens are also slated to join the conference that season. Those two schools will join FIU, Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State, Liberty, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, New Mexico State, Sam Houston, UTEP, and Western Kentucky.

Future Missouri State Football Schedules

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Comments (12)

Probably going to be an easier trek through the C-USA schedule as opposed to navigating through the Valley

Z-Man I would feel same way if CBS forgoes Week 1 Fresno State/Michigan & Week 3 Notre Dame/Purdue however I remain 114% optimistic that CBS would do two games hosted by Big Ten Teams that i really want at 3:30PM time slot.

To Z-Man for you that like Ohio State & Notre Dame that Dan is pulling For Big Ten & CBS to televise Week 1 8/31 Akron at Ohio State Week 3 Notre Dame at Purdue with 3:30PM kickoff on both games.

So they are leaving the Missouri Valley for Conference USA, is this a football move only? What about basketball and all other sports? Also I know when a team moves from division 2 to division 1 in basketball they are ineligible for postseason for 4 years , I think, so in this move since it is still division 1aa (fcs) to division 1 (fbs) will they be bowl eligible if they win 6? I know a couple teams went to bowls last year, who had the wins, Jacksonville State and I think the other was James Madison, who both had the wins, but if I remember right, only made it because their weren’t enough teams.

As A Delaware Blue Hens Fan I am curious about future of Men’s Lacrosse team although I have four teams that I really like Michigan Wolverines(Big Ten),Cleveland State Vikings(A-Sun),Villanova Wildcats(Big East) & Boston University Terriers(Patriot League) all four in Men’s Lacrosse.

The move is for all sports

They won’t be bowl eligible during their two year transition from FCS to FBS unless there aren’t enough 6 win wins to fill all the bowl spots. That how James Madison and Jax State made bowls this past season even though they were still in their two year transition