Louisiana Tech has four new conference foes.
Well, at least starting with the 2023-24 athletic year.
Conference USA today announced that Jacksonville State University, Liberty University, New Mexico State University and Sam Houston State University will join the league on July 1, 2023.
This comes after six current C-USA members (North Texas, Rice, Charlotte, UAB, Florida Atlantic and UTSA) announced weeks ago they were joining the AAC. Then most recently, Southern Miss, Marshall and Old Dominion announced their intention to join the Sun Belt.
So today’s announcement gives Conference USA nine members, although numerous reports over the last week suggest WKU and Middle Tennessee could be leaving for the MAC.
Regardless, today’s announcement at least rights the ship for the league with more additions possible in the near future.
Friday’s actions were approved unanimously by the league’s Board of Directors.
“We are incredibly excited about adding these four new members and feel there is tremendous upside in these moves for our conference,” Conference USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod said. “This is a quality mix of established and emerging universities that provides us with a compelling group to continue to build with, focusing on competing for and winning championships well into the future. We have been deliberate in our efforts for the past few weeks to get us to this point and will continue to evaluate and consider our additional options for membership.”
Founded in 1883, Jacksonville State is a public university located in Jacksonville, Alabama. The campus is home to nearly 10,000 students and offers 95 academic programs and concentrations, including bachelor’s, master’s, post-baccalaureate, doctoral and advanced certificate programs. Athletically, the Gamecocks compete in 17 sports and have won a total of 132 conference championships in their proud athletic history, including 82 as members of the Ohio Valley Conference that resulted in over 50 trips to NCAA postseason play. Football has won 24 conference titles in program history, while softball has claimed 18, baseball has won 16 and men’s basketball has captured 14.
Men’s sports at JSU include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, rifle and tennis. Gamecocks’ women’s sports include basketball, cross country, golf, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball and beach volleyball.
Founded in 1971, Liberty University is located in Central Virginia. Liberty is a private, liberal arts institution with 15 colleges and schools. Total enrollment is over 100,000, including 30,000 military students. There are over 700 unique programs of study (over 300 of which are offered residentially). Athletically, the Flames compete in 20 sports. They have won six Division I individual national championships, have claimed over 180 conference championships at the Division I level and have been home to 200 All-Americans. The football program, which rose to the FBS level in 2018, has won back-to-back bowl games and is bowl eligible again in 2021. The Flames climbed as high as No. 17 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll in 2020. The men’s basketball program has the third-most wins amongst NCAA Division I teams in men’s basketball since the 2018-19 season (82), with a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in that time.
Men’s sports at Liberty include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, soccer and tennis. Lady Flames’ women’s sports include basketball, cross country, field hockey, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis and volleyball.
Founded in 1888, New Mexico State University is a comprehensive research land-grant university located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The 900-acre campus enrolls more than 14,000 students from 49 states and 89 countries and offers 190 academic programs and concentrations on its campus including bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and advanced certificate programs. Athletically, the Aggies compete in 16 Division I sports and since 2017, have claimed 25 conference championships, produced 13 All-Americans and have had six student-athletes drafted (four to Major League Baseball and two to the NFL). The men’s basketball program has earned an NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament berth in five of the last six seasons and prior to COVID, (2017-20) had an average RPI of 60. On the women’s basketball side, the Aggies have earned four NCAA Tournament berths since 2015.
Men’s sports at NM State include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf and tennis. Aggies’ women’s sports include basketball, cross country, golf, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis and volleyball.
Founded in 1879, Sam Houston State University is located in Huntsville, Texas and has an enrollment of over 21,000 students. The University offers graduate, professional, and baccalaureate degrees, as well as professional and graduate certificates, in more than 170 fields of study through seven schools and colleges. Athletically, the Bearkats compete in 17 Division I sports. The football program is the defending national champion at the FCS level and is off to a 7-0 start in the 2021 season. Sam Houston football has made 12 playoff appearances, including eight since 2011. Track & Field has seen a great deal of recent success as well, on both the men’s and women’s sides, as the Bearkats have won a combined 11 conference championships during the outdoor season since 2005 (six women’s and five men’s).
Men’s sports at Sam Houston include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field. Bearkats’ women’s sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, soccer, tennis and volleyball.