JONESBORO, Ark. (5/10/23) – The Arkansas State women’s bowling team is one of nine programs that will join Conference USA beginning with 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.”
A-State has played in the Southland Bowling League since it was founded in 2015, winning the conference championship in 2016, 2018 and 2023. Conference USA will be comprised of nine programs during its first season – Arkansas State, Jacksonville State, Louisiana Tech, Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, Tulane, Valparaiso, Vanderbilt and Youngstown State.
“We are pleased to see Conference USA sponsoring bowling as our game continues to grow,” said A-State head coach Justin Kostick. “While most of the teams in C-USA were in the Southland, adding Jacksonville State is a great sign of things to come in our sport. We look forward to the great competition for the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament via C-USA.
Six of those nine programs were a part of the 2023 NCAA Championship, including 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 (Stephen F. Austin in 2016 and 2019, Vanderbilt in 2018 and 2023 and Sam Houston in 2014).
Bowling has been an NCAA-sponsored sport since the 2003-04 season, with the first NCAA Championship taking place in 2004. 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…