AP sources: C-USA adding Jacksonville State, Liberty, NMSU, SMSU

College Sports

Jacksonville State players celebrate after a 20-17 win in an NCAA college football game against Florida State on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

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December 25 2021 12:00 am

Conference USA will add Liberty, Jacksonville State, New Mexico State and Sam Houston State as the league tries to replenish its ranks after having nine schools announce plans to leave in the last month.

All four schools have accepted invitations to C-USA, according to a person familiar with the conference and the schools’ decisions. The person spoke Friday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an official announcement was still being prepared. Yahoo Sports! was first to report C-USA planned to invite the four.

The Conference USA overhaul might not be done, either: Mid-American Conference presidents were meeting Friday with possible expansion on the agenda and C-USA members Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State as potential options, a person familiar with the situation told AP, also speaking only on condition of anonymity because the league discussions are private.

Including MTSU and WKU, Conference USA has only five members that have not announced plans to leave in the next few years. The NCAA requires Bowl Subdivision leagues to have at least eight teams.

Liberty and Jacksonville State are both members of the ASun Conference for most of their sports, though Liberty is an independent competing in NCAA Division I’s highest tier of football while Jacksonville State has been a successful program in the Championship Subdivision (FCS).

New Mexico State is also an FBS independent and member of Western Athletic Conference for basketball and other sports. Sam Houston State, which is coming off an FCS national championship, is part of the newly restarted WAC football league, which is competing in FCS this year.

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