After nine teams leave, Conference USA adds four, including Liberty and New Mexico State

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Conference USA officially added four teams on Friday after six other teams had announced they were leaving the conference.

The conference said that Liberty and New Mexico State would be joining along with Jacksonville State and Sam Houston State. Liberty and New Mexico State are both currently independents at the top level of college football while Jacksonville State and Sam Houston State will be moving up from the FCS level.

All four teams will be joining on July 1, 2023.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

The move to add the four teams comes after Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Marshall, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB and UTSA left the conference earlier this fall. Six of the teams are heading to the American Athletic Conference while Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss are heading to the Sun Belt.

With nine teams out of the conference and four in, the number of teams in C-USA ahead of the 2023 football season currently sits at nine, though that’s tentative. Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State are possible expansion candidates for the Mid-American Conference.

If they stay in Conference USA, then the conference can add one more school and have enough teams to contest a football championship game every season. If they leave, then Conference USA will be down to seven and will be needing to expand for its own survival.

Any additional expansion would likely have to come from the FCS ranks. With BYU off to the Big 12, the only remaining independents in college football are set to be Notre Dame, UMass and UConn.

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