Missouri State will rise to the highest level of Division I college football and join Conference USA in 2025, the league announced Friday.

Missouri State will become the 12th full member of CUSA and the third school — along with Kennesaw State this season and Delaware in 2025 — to move from the FCS to the FBS and join the league over the next two seasons.

A longtime member of the Missouri Valley Conference, Missouri State has competed in the FCS/I-AA since 1981. The Bears reached the NCAA playoffs four times, most recently in 2020 and 2021 under then-coach Bobby Petrino.

“The institution boasts a great tradition of athletics and academics that will strengthen and further position our membership for long-term success on the national landscape,” said Conference USA Commissioner Judy McLeod.

Conference USA lost six members to the American Athletic Conference and was rebuilt last year by adding former independents such as Liberty and New Mexico State and former FCS schools Sam Houston State and Jacksonville State.

The rest of the conference includes Louisiana Tech, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State, UTEP and Florida International.


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