C-USA to add bowling in 2023-24

Conference USA is set to add bowling to its sport portfolio for the 2023-24 season, C-USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod announced Wednesday.

“We are very excited to add bowling to Conference USA,” MacLeod said. “We look forward to this very competitive group of programs challenging for national championships every year. We are thankful to Chris Grant and the Southland Conference for the collaboration resulting in the transition of these programs and the automatic qualifier status to C-USA.”

Louisiana Tech will be one of the nine programs part of Conference USA during its first season along with Arkansas State, Jacksonville State, Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, Tulane, Valparaiso, Vanderbilt, and Youngstown State.

Six of the nine programs were a part of the 2023 NCAA Championship, including LA Tech. Also part of the league are the national champion, Vanderbilt, and the national runner-up, Arkansas State. Dating back to 2014, this group of institutions has won five of the past nine national championships.

Bowling has been an NCAA-sponsored sport since the 2003-04 season, with the first NCAA Championship taking place in 2004 (LA Tech began its bowling program during the 2004-05 season). For the 2022-23 academic year, 100 NCAA institutions participated in the sport.

Considered one of the NCAA’s winter sports, Women’s Bowling’s season runs from October through the end of March. The NCAA Championship being held in April, and each NCAA program must bowl a minimum of 15 dates to be eligible for the NCAA Championship.

In NCAA Bowling, programs from all classifications compete together for one championship each year. Seventeen teams, nine automatic qualifiers and eight at-large selections, are chosen by the NCAA Bowling Committee to compete in the Championship.

The field is split into five regions, competing at predetermined sites; each of the top four seeds as chosen by the NCAA selection committee is placed in a separate regional. Each regional is played as a double-elimination tournament.

All regional matches, except for what the NCAA calls “if necessary regional finals”, are best-of-three matches bowled in the following order: five-person team, Baker total pinfall, Baker best-of-seven match play. Any “if necessary regional final” will be Baker best-of-seven.

Regional winners advance to the championship event, which will also be double-elimination. All matches are bowled under the standard format for regionals (best-of-three matches using specified formats in a specific order) except the championship final, which will be Baker best-of-seven.