NASHVILLE, Tenn. — 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.” 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. 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.
Vanderbilt Coach John Williamson says the Commodores are looking forward to the new conference but that the sport owes much to the Southland Conference.
“We are very appreciative of the support and efforts made by Chris Grant, Thomas Samuel and the entire Southland Conference organization,” Williamson said. “They stepped forward and helped make the Southland the premier bowling conference in the nation. We had a good run with four championships and now we look ahead to an even larger league that will continue the first-class traditions we’ve built.”