Missouri State Jumping to FBS and Conference USA in 2025

The FCS is losing another member to the FBS with Missouri State joining Conference USA beginning with the 2025-26 academic year. Missouri State will be the fifth FCS program to move to the FBS and Conference USA since 2023. Jacksonville State and Sam Houston State joined C-USA in 2023, Kennesaw State is joining in 2024, and Delaware will join in 2025 alongside the Bears.

Missouri State has been a member of the FCS since 1981 when it was called Division I-AA. The Bears were in the Mid-Continent Conference from 1981 through 1984 and joined the Gateway Conference in 1985, which was later renamed to the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Missouri State won or shared three conference titles in 1989, 1990, and 2020. The Bears made four I-AA/FCS playoff appearances in 1989, 1990, 2020, and 2021 with an overall record of 1-4. Missouri State is a primary member of the similarly named Missouri Valley Conference.

The move will put the MVFC at 10 members and is the second departure from the FCS’ best conference. Western Illinois is joining the Big South-OVC Football Association in 2024 after changing primary conference affiliation. Conference USA will have 12 members once the duo of Missouri State and Delaware join in 2025. Like Delaware, Missouri State will have to pay the recently changed FBS application fee of $5 million.

Missouri State kicks off its final FCS season on Saturday, August 31 at Montana. The Bears will not be eligible for the FCS playoffs in 2024 as this season will count as year one of its two-year reclassification process to the FBS.

Photo Credit to Missouri State University Athletics

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