Missouri State will join Conference USA beginning with the 2025-26 athletic year, the league office announced Friday. The Bears will give CUSA 12 full members as Kennesaw State is set to join the league next year as the 10th and Delaware will also join in 2025.

These three additions of Missouri State, Delaware, and Kennesaw State will add to the current list of nine full members in CUSA of Liberty, New Mexico State, Jacksonville State, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, Sam Houston, UTEP, and FIU.

Missouri State has played football in the FCS since 1981, reaching the FCS Playoffs in 2020 (spring 2021) and 2021 under former head coach Bobby Petrino. He helped guide the Bears to top 15 finishes in the FCS and the playoffs in both of those seasons, his first two years leading the program, reaching the FCS playoffs for the first time since 1990. Under first year head coach Ryan Beard, Missouri State went 4-7 during the 2023 season. The Bears’ football program will now begin a two-year re-classification process to the FBS.

Missouri State’s basketball team last reached the NCAA Tournament in 1999. The women’s basketball team reached two Final Fours in 1992 and 2001.

With 12 full members, the league could opt to move to division play splitting the conference into two six-team divisions.