Sam Houston State, formerly of the Southland, headed to C-USA in 2023

during the second half of the NCAA college FCS Football Championship in Frisco, Texas, Sunday...
during the second half of the NCAA college FCS Football Championship in Frisco, Texas, Sunday May 16, 2021. Sam Houston State defeated South Dakota State 23-21. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)(Michael Ainsworth | AP)
Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 3:21 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - While McNeese gets set to reportedly join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), they’ll only be reunited with rival Sam Houston State for a season as the Bearkats announced Friday they’ve officially accepted an invitation to join Conference USA.

That leaves the WAC with 11 current members with reportedly two more on the way in McNeese and Incarnate Word. Of those 11, only six are current football-playing schools with UTRGV expected to add football in the next few seasons.

SHSU will join fellow WAC school New Mexico State along with Liberty University and Jacksonville State in the C-USA beginning July 1, 2023. The defending FCS National Champions will begin the transition to Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) status immediately following the conclusion of the 2021 FCS Playoffs.

The move is the second league transition in less than a year for Sam Houston, who is currently in its first year of competition in the WAC. Previously, Sam Houston had spent its first 34 years as a Division I program in the Southland Conference alongside McNeese.

This move comes as part of a major shift in college athletics where 22 schools to date have recently announced changes in conference affiliation.

With the addition of the four new teams, the C-USA is now at nine members with FIU, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, UTEP and Western Kentucky rounding out the roster. However, the Mid-American Conference is reportedly interested in adding Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee.

Former C-USA schools Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA announced their departure for the American Athletic Conference, while Marshall, Old Dominion, Southern Miss are headed to the Sun Belt Conference.

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