Editor’s note: This post has been updated as of Wednesday, September 21, 2022. Note that this list only reflects changes in effect beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. If you wish to see changes for the 2021-22 season, please see this post. For future changes in 2023 or later, please see this post. This article will be updated throughout the 2021-22 academic year as more changes become known.
The 2021-22 academic year began on July 1 but we are already looking ahead to realignment for the 2022-23 academic year. The wheel that is college realignment never stops turning and we want to stay on top of the news with a single location of all the moves from Division I, Division 2, Division 3, and the NAIA.
If this post seems familiar to another list on this site, you would be correct. That list covered changes from 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22, and some of the other future realignment changes. Given the increasing number of entries, it was becoming cumbersome to list so many changes in one article. The list presented below will not cover anything from the current 2021-22 season or prior and the previous list will not be updated with any news for changes occurring in the 2022-23 academic year or later.
If you are looking for a specific division and additional information, please click here for Division I, here for Division II, here for Division III, and here for NAIA. Clicking the school name in the table below will take you directly to the press release of the future realignment change.
|Team||Old Conference||New Conference||First season in|
|Agnes Scott College||USA South (D3)||CCS (D3)||2022-23|
|Allegheny College||North Coast (D3)||PAC (D3)||2022-23|
|Anderson University||SAC (D2)||SAC (D2)||2024-25||Starting football program|
|Austin Peay||OVC (D1)||ASUN (D1)||2022-23|
|Ave Maria||Mid-South (NAIA)||Sun Conference (NAIA)||2022-23||Football only move|
|Averett||USA South (D3)||ODAC (D3)||2022-23|
|Barton College||N/A||SAC (D2)||2022-23||New football program|
|Belhaven University||ASC (D3)||USA South (D3)||2022-23|
|Belhaven University||USA South (D3)||CCS (D3)||2022-23||Football will play in USA South|
|Belmont||OVC (D1)||Missouri Valley (D1)||2022-23||Non-football school|
|Berea College||USA South (D3)||CCS (D3)||2022-23|
|Bismarck State||N/A||North Star (NAIA)||TBD||2-Year college; will become 4 year college and join NAIA|
|Bloomsburg University||PSAC (D2)||PSAC (D2)||2022-23||Merging with Lock Haven + Mansfield; Will keep athletic teams|
|Bluefield||Mid-South (NAIA)||Appalachian Athletic Conference (NAIA)||2022-23||Football moving to the AAC|
|Bridgeport||ECC (D2)||CACC (D2)||2022-23|
|Bryant||Northeast Conference (D1)||America East (D1)||2022-23||Football to the Big South|
|BYU||WCC / FBS Independent (D1)||Big 12 (D1)||2023-24|
|California University (PA)||PSAC (D2)||PSAC (D2)||2022-23||Merging with Clarion + Edinboro; Will keep athletic teams|
|Carlow University||NAIA / USCAA||TBD (D3)|
|Centenary College||N/A||TBD (D3)||2024-25||Reviving football program|
|Central Arkansas||WAC (D1)||ASUN (D1)||2022-23||Football only move|
|Central Washington||GNAC (D2)||Lone Star (D2)||2022-23||Football only move|
|Charlotte||C-USA (D1)||AAC (D1)||2023-24|
|Chicago State||WAC (D1)||TBD||2022-23|
|Cincinnati||AAC (D1)||Big 12 (D1)||2023-24|
|Clarion University||PSAC (D2)||PSAC (D2)||2022-23||Merging with Cal U. (PA) + Edinboro; Will keep athletic teams|
|Cottey College||CAC (NAIA)||AMC (NAIA)||2022-23|
|Covenant College||USA South (D3)||CCS (D3)||2022-23|
|Eastern Kentucky||WAC (D1)||ASUN (D1)||2022-23||Football only move|
|Edinboro University||PSAC (D2)||PSAC (D2)||2022-23||Merging with Cal U. (PA) + Clarion; Will keep athletic teams|
|Emory and Henry||Independent (D2)||SAC (D2)||2022-23|
|Erskine College||N/A||SAC (D2)||2022-23||New football program|
|Evangel University||HAAC (NAIA)||KCAC (NAIA)||2023-24|
|Florida Atlantic||C-USA (D1)||AAC (D1)||2023-24|
|Florida Memorial||Mid-South (NAIA)||Sun Conference (NAIA)||2022-23||Football only move|
|Hampton||Big South (D1)||CAA (D1)||2022-23|
|Hartford||America East (D1)||CCC (D3)||2023-24|
|Hilbert College||N/A||TBD (D3)||2022-23||Starting football program|
|Houston||AAC (D1)||Big 12 (D1)||2023-24|
|Southland (D1)||Southland (D1)||2022-23||Name change from Houston Baptist to Houston Christian|
|Huntingdon College||USA South (D3)||CCS (D3)||2022-23||Football will play in USA South|
|Illinois-Chicago||Horizon League (D1)||Missouri Valley (D1)||2022-23|
|Incarnate Word is remaining in the Southland after previously committing to the WAC|
|Jacksonville State |
|WAC (D1)||ASUN (D1)||2022-23||Football only move|
|Jacksonville State |
|ASUN (D1)||C-USA (D1)||2023-24|
|James Madison||CAA (D1)||Sun Belt (D1)||2022-23|
|Keiser||Mid-South (NAIA)||Sun Conference (NAIA)||2022-23||Football only move|
|Kennesaw State||Big South (D1)||ASUN (D1)||2022-23||Football only move|
|Kentucky Christian||Mid-South (NAIA)||Appalachian Athletic Conference (NAIA)||2022-23||Football moving to the AAC|
|La Grange College||USA South (D3)||CCS (D3)||2022-23||Football will play in USA South|
|Lamar||WAC (D1)||Southland (D1)||Joining Southland a year early|
|Lesley University||NECC (D3)||NAC (D3)||2023-24|
|Liberty||ASUN / FBS Independent (D1)||C-USA (D1)||2023-24|
|Life University||Mid-South (NAIA)||SSAC (NAIA)||2022-23|
|Lincoln Christian||Independent (NAIA)||N/A||2022-23||Dropping all sports|
|Lincoln College||CCAC (NAIA)||School Closing||2022-23||Effective 5/13/2022|
|Lindenwood||GLVC (D2)||OVC (D1)||2022-23||Fully D1 eligible in 2026-27|
|Little Rock||Sun Belt (D1)||OVC (D1)||2022-23|
|Lock Haven University||PSAC (D2)||PSAC (D2)||2022-23||Merging with Bloomsburg + Mansfield; Will keep athletic teams|
|Loyola-Chicago||Missouri Valley (D1)||Atlantic 10 (D1)||2022-23|
|Lyon College||AMC (NAIA)||TBD (D3)||2022-23|
|Mansfield University||PSAC (D2)||PSAC (D2)||2022-23||Merging with Bloomsburg + Lock Haven; Will keep athletic teams|
|Marshall||C-USA (D1)||Sun Belt (D1)||2022-23|
|Marymount California||Cal-Pac (NAIA)||School Closing||2022-23||Effective 8/31/2022|
|Maryville College||USA South (D3)||CCS (D3)||2022-23||Football will play in USA South|
|Medaille College||AMAC (D3)||Empire 8 (D3)||2022-23|
|Mills College||C2C (D3)||Dropping sports||2023-24||Will become a research institute|
|Mississippi University for Women||Independent (D3)||SLIAC (D3)||2022-23|
|Monmouth||Big South / MAAC (D1)||CAA (D1)||2022-23||Football moving from Big South|
|Mount St. Mary's||NEC (D1)||MAAC (D1)||2022-23|
|Murray State||OVC (D1)||Missouri Valley (D1)||2022-23||Football to MVFC in 2023-24|
|New Mexico State||WAC / FBS Independent (D1)||C-USA (D1)||2023-24|
|North Alabama||Big South (D1)||ASUN (D1)||2022-23||Football only move|
|North American University||N/A||TBD||2022-23|
|North Carolina A&T||Big South (D1)||CAA (D1)||2022-23||Football joining CAA in 2023-24|
|North Texas||C-USA (D1)||AAC (D1)||2023-24|
|Northwood||GLIAC (D2)||GMAC (D2)||2022-23|
|Ohio Valley University||River States (NAIA)||School Closing||Dec. 2021||Effective 12/15/2021|
|Oklahoma||Big 12 (D1)||SEC (D1)||2024-25?|
|Old Dominion||C-USA (D1)||Sun Belt (D1)||2022-23|
|Piedmont College||USA South (D3)||CCS (D3)||2022-23|
|Point University||Mid-South (NAIA)||Appalachian Athletic Conference (NAIA)||2022-23||Football moving to the AAC|
|Post University||N/A||TBD (D2)||TBD|
|Queens University of Charlotte||SAC (D2)||ASUN (D1)||2022-23||Does not sponsor football|
|Reinhardt||Mid-South (NAIA)||Appalachian Athletic Conference (NAIA)||2022-23||Football moving to the AAC|
|Rice||C-USA (D1)||AAC (D1)||2023-24|
|Sam Houston State||WAC (D1)||C-USA (D1)||2023-24|
|Sierra Nevada University||Cal Pac (NAIA)||Will become part of University of Nevada, Reno (D1)||2022-23||Athletics TBD|
|Simon Fraser||GNAC (D2)||Lone Star (D2)||2022-23||Football only move|
|South Carolina-Beaufort||Sun Conference (NAIA)||Peach Belt (D2)||2022-23|
|Southeastern||Mid-South (NAIA)||Sun Conerence (NAIA)||2022-23||Football only move|
|Southern Indiana||GLVC (D2)||OVC (D1)||2022-23||Fully D1 eligible in 2026-27|
|Southern Miss||C-USA (D1)||Sun Belt (D1)||2022-23|
|Southern University at New Orleans||N/A||GCAC (NAIA)||2022-23||Bringing back sports programs|
|Southern Utah||Big Sky (D1)||WAC (D1)||2022-23|
|Southwestern (TX)||ASC (D3)||SAA (D3)||2023-24||Football only move|
|St Andrews||Mid-south (NAIA)||Appalachian Athletic Conference (NAIA)||2022-23||Football moving to the AAC|
|St. Thomas (FL)||Mid-South (NAIA)||Sun Conference (NAIA)||2022-23||Football only move|
|Stonehill||Northeast 10 (D2)||NEC (D1)||2022-23|
|Stony Brook||America East (D1)||CAA (D1)||2022-23|
|SUNY Maritime||ECFC (D3)||NEWMAC (D3)||2023-24|
|SUNY Morrisville||United East (D3)||NAC (D3)||2023-24||Football TBD|
|Texas||Big 12 (D1)||SEC (D1)||2024-25?|
|Texas A&M-Commerce||Lone Star (D2)||Southland (D1)||2022-23|
|Texas-San Antonio||C-USA (D1)||AAC (D1)||2023-24|
|Thomas More||Mid-South (NAIA)||GMAC (D2)||2022-23|
|UAB||C-USA (D1)||AAC (D1)||2023-24|
|UCLA||Pac-12 (D1)||Big Ten (D1)||2024-25|
|UCF||AAC (D1)||Big 12 (D1)||2023-24|
|Union||Mid-South (NAIA)||Appalachian Athletic Conference (NAIA)||2022-23||Football moving to the AAC|
|USC||Pac-12 (D1)||Big Ten (D1)||2024-25|
|WAC (D1)||WAC (D1)||2022-23||Name change from Dixie State to Utah Tech|
|USciences||CACC (D2)||Merging with Saint Joseph's (D1)||2022-23||Merger pending approval|
|UT-Arlington||Sun Belt (D1)||WAC (D1)||2022-23|
|UT-Rio Grande Valley||WAC (D1)||WAC (D1)||2024 or 2025||Likely starting football program|
|Warner||Mid-South (NAIA)||Sun Conference (NAIA)||2022-23||Football only move|
|Webber International||Mid-South (NAIA)||Sun Conference (NAIA)||2022-23||Football only move|
|Wesleyan College||USA South (D3)||CCS (D3)||2022-23|
|Western Oregon||GNAC (D2)||Lone Star (D2)||2022-23||Football only move|
|Westmont College||NAIA (GSAC)||PacWest (D2)||2023-24||Applied for D2 membership|
|Wilberforce (Ohio)||CAC (NAIA)||Mid-South (NAIA)||2022-23||Doesn't sponsor football|
|Wiley College||RRAC (NAIA)||GCAC (NAIA)||2022-23|
Let’s start with the biggest news to date: Oklahoma and Texas have decided to leave the Big 12 and are headed to the SEC. When will this happen? The SEC says the two schools will join starting in the 2025-26 academic year but it wouldn’t be surprising to see those two join sooner (no pun intended).
After the SEC move to bring in OU and Texas, the Big 12 responded by inviting BYU (football independent, West Coast Conference) and the AAC trio of Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF on September 10. The current plan is for these teams to join starting with the 2023-24 academic year. The AAC has already begun a search for the next members to invite as replacements for the departing trio.
There are other numerous changes at the Division I level and it starts with the ASUN, Big Sky, and WAC conferences. As part of the 2021-22 agreement between the ASUN and WAC, three full members of the ASUN – Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky, and Jacksonville State – will play the 2021 football season as WAC members. Those three teams will then become ASUN Conference football members beginning in 2022-23 when the ASUN sponsors FCS football for the first time.
In addition to the three teams next year, current Big South football members Kennesaw State and North Alabama will also move to the newly established conference after the 2021-22 season.
Southern Utah will join the WAC from the Big Sky following the 2021-22 academic year. There is also speculation that the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley may start a football program in time for the 2024 season. UTRGV is currently a WAC member in other sports. Finally, the WAC will see geographic outlier Chicago State leave the conference after the 2021-22 season. Chicago State has not yet announced which conference (if any) it will join starting in 2022-23 though the Division I path forward for Chicago State has many obstacles.
Hartford announced in May 2021 that they would drop from Division I to compete at the Division III level starting in 2025. That timeline is subject to approval from the NCAA. Hartford has yet to announce which Division III conference they will join.
9/17/21 Update: Austin Peay will leave the Ohio Valley Conference for the ASUN starting with the 2022-23 academic year. The Governors would be the 13th full member of the ASUN and the sixth FCS football member giving the league an automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs beginning in 2022.
9/25/21 Update: The OVC was dealt another blow with basketball powerhouse Belmont reportedly leaving to join the Missouri Valley Conference. Belmont is the fourth OVC team to leave within the last year joining Austin Peay, Eastern Kentucky, and Jacksonville State. The latter trio left to join the ASUN Conference. Belmont confirmed they would join the MVC on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.
Joining the D1 ranks will be Texas A&M-Commerce, which will reportedly leave the D2 Lone Star Conference and join the Southland Conference, according to Dan Wolken of USA Today. This would give the SLC 7 football members and 9 overall schools – assuming no other teams leave. Commerce would join the Southland starting in the 2022-23 academic year. Commerce confirmed the news on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.
10/21/21 Update: The AAC officially announced the addition of 6 schools from C-USA. Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, Texas-San Antonio, and UAB will make their new home in the AAC. It is not yet known when the schools will join the AAC but the earliest they could start is in 2023-24 per Pete Thamel.
10/26/21 Update: The Sun Belt officially welcomed Southern Mississippi into the conference. The Golden Eagles – joining from C-USA – will join no later than the 2023-24 academic year. Southern Miss is the first of four expected new members for the Sun Belt with James Madison, Marshall, and Old Dominion also expected to join.
10/27/21 Update: Just a day after Southern Miss joined the Sun Belt, Old Dominion also officially made the move from C-USA. As with Southern Miss, ODU will join the Sun Belt no later than the 2023-24 academic year.
10/29/21 Update: Marshall confirmed the rumor that they would become members of the Sun Belt with this tweet. They are likely to leave C-USA after the 2022-23 academic year and join the Sun Belt starting with the 2023-24 season.
11/5/21 Update: James Madison’s path to the Sun Belt is clear after Virginia’s Intercollegiate Athletics Review Commission unanimously approved JMU to move to a new conference. The Dukes will be part of the CAA through the 2021-22 academic year with the CAA imposing a retaliatory ban on JMU’s conference championship eligibility. JMU will be in the Sun Belt as early as 2022-23 for all sports except football.
11/5/21 Update: Conference USA announced four new members with two FBS independents and two FCS teams joining the conference. Liberty and New Mexico State will leave FBS independent status to become members of C-USA. The two FCS teams moving up will be Jacksonville State from the ASUN and Sam Houston State from the WAC. All four schools will join beginning with the 2023-24 academic year.
11/11/21 Update: A student referendum to increase fees was passed at UT-Rio Grande Valley. The final step before football becomes officially sponsored by the school is a vote from the Board of Regents, which will happen in early 2022. The football program is likely to start playing in 2025.
11/12/21 Update: The WAC announced the addition of Incarnate Word starting in the 2022-23 academic year. The Cardinals are the 5th Southland team to leave for the WAC following fellow Texas schools Abilene Christian, Lamar, Sam Houston State, and Stephen F. Austin. SHSU has already decided to move on from the WAC and become a C-USA member in 2022.
11/16/21 Update: A surprise move by Loyola-Chicago to leave the Missouri Valley Conference and join the Atlantic 10 made waves. The Ramblers – a school that made the Final Four in 2018 and the Sweet 16 in 2021 – will become an A10 member starting in 2022-23.
12/8/21 Update: Little Rock announced they will leave the Sun Belt Conference after the 2021-22 season to join the Ohio Valley Conference starting in 2022-23. Little Rock doesn’t sponsor football but the move helps solidify OVC’s basketball membership after the departure of Belmont earlier in 2021.
1/6/22 Update: Murray State will follow in the footsteps of Belmont University and move from the Ohio Valley Conference to the Missouri Valley Conference. The Racers are expected to join the MVC beginning with the 2022-23 academic year.
1/23/22 Update: The WAC announced the addition of UT-Arlington as they continue to gobble up Texas-based schools. The Mavericks were a member of the WAC for one season (2012-13) and have been a Sun Belt member since the 2013-14 academic year. UT-Arlington will join the WAC beginning with the 2022-23 season.
1/25/22 Update: The Colonial Athletic Association welcomed three new members in Hampton University, Monmouth University, and Stony Brook University. Hampton is leaving the Big South, Monmouth is leaving the MAAC (football will move from the Big South), and Stony Brook is leaving the America East. All three will become CAA members in time for the 2022-23 academic year.
1/26/22 Update: The University of Illinois Chicago announced they were leaving the Horizon League to join the Missouri Valley Conference. UIC will replace Loyola-Chicago as the conference’s Chicago team and will join the MVC starting in 2022-23. UIC be moving to the MVC alongside Belmont and Murray State in the fall of 2022.
2/2/22 Update: James Madison announced they would move to the Sun Belt in 2022-23 instead of the 2023-24 academic year.
2/9/22 Update: Another team is moving up to Division 1. The University of Southern Indiana announced they would leave the D2 Great Lakes Valley Conference to become Ohio Valley Conference members beginning in 2022-23. USI will not be eligible for NCAA Championships during the 4-year transition period.
2/12/22 Update: The trio of Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss are planning to leave C-USA on June 30, 2022. At this time, they have not officially announced they will be in the Sun Belt by the start of the 2022-23 academic year. All three were previously scheduled to join the Sun Belt in 2023 though realignment is never a straightforward process.
2/19/22 Update: North Carolina A&T voted to approve the invitation to join the CAA. The Aggies will leave the Big South and join the CAA in most sports except football for the 2022-23 academic year. The Aggies will join the CAA in football in 2023 and are awaiting the extra year to help the Big South keep its automatic qualifier status to the FCS Playoffs.
2/23/22 Update: Lindenwood University (St. Charles, Missouri) will be moving up from Division 2 to join the Ohio Valley Conference at the D1 level. Lindenwood moved to the Great Lakes Valley Conference in 2019 and will officially become OVC members on July 1, 2022. The Lions won’t be fully D1 eligible until 2026.
3/29/22 Update: Bryant University will leave the Northeast Conference and join the America East Conference effective July 1, 2022. The America East doesn’t sponsor football leaving Bryant to join the Big South Conference as an associate member.
Also announced on March 29, 202 was that Conference USA will have 11 members for the 2022-23 academic year. The trio of Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss will become members of the Sun Belt Conference in 2022. The news had been rumored for quite some time but the threat of legal action by C-USA stood in the way. With the matter settled, both conferences can move forward with the membership they’ve selected during the latest realignment changes.
4/4/22 Update: After declaring its intention to leave the OVC for the MVC in January, Murray State finalized the last piece of its future in April. Murray State’s football program will become a member of the MVFC starting with the 2023-24 academic year. The Racers will become the 12th football program in the MVFC.
4/6/22 Update: Stonehill College (Easton, Massachusetts) will move from the Division 2 Northeast 10 Conference to Division 1 and join the Northeast Conference. The Skyhawks will join the NEC beginning with the 2022-23 academic year and will be fully eligible D1 and NEC members in 2026-27. The NEC recently lost Bryant University to the American East.
4/8/22 Update: Lamar University decided its foray into the WAC wasn’t the right decision and will head back to the Southland Conference after two seasons. Lamar joined the WAC in the 2021-22 academic year and return to the Southland for the 2023-24 academic year.
5/2/22 Update: Mount St. Mary’s University announced they would leave the NEC to join the MAAC beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. The Mountaineers will arrive just as Monmouth will depart the MAAC to join the CAA. Mount St. Mary’s does not sponsor football so they won’t need to find another conference to house that program.
5/7/22 Update: The Queens University of Charlotte announced they will join move up to Division 1 and join the ASUN beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. The Royals – who do not sponsor football – will have a 4-year transition period as part of the move from the South Athletic Conference to the ASUN.
6/5/22 Update: Dixie State will change the name of its school to Utah Tech University effective July 1, 2022. The Utah legislature approved the name change in November 2021.
6/10/22 Update: In an expected move, the Big 12 officially announced that BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF will join the conference starting with the 2023-24 academic year. At the same time, a report came out that Texas and Oklahoma are realistically looking at the 2024-25 academic year to move to the SEC.
6/15/22 Update: The 6 teams that are moving from Conference USA to the AAC – Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UT-San Antonio, and UAB – will join their new home starting in 2023-24.
6/21/22 Update: Hartford University, which is reclassifying down to the Division 3 level, will join the Commonwealth Coast Conference starting with the 2023-24 academic year.
6/24/22 Update: Incarnate Word decided to stay in the Southland Conference instead of leaving for the WAC as originally intended on July 1, 2022. The WAC is bleeding football members as they will only have 4 eligible members in 2022 and 3 in 2023 due to the departures of Sam Houston State and Lamar in 2023.
6/30/22 Update: UCLA and USC dropped a bombshell by announcing they are leaving the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten starting in the 2024-25 academic year. The move comes roughly a year after the seismic shift of Oklahoma and Texas leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.
7/11/22 Update: Lamar will rejoin the Southland Conference in 2022 instead of the previously announced move for the 2023 season.
9/21/22 Update: Houston Baptist University changed its name to Houston Christian University effective immediately on September 21, 2022. The school will not change the current nickname of Huskies or the school colors (orange and blue).
The South Atlantic Conference will welcome two affiliate members as football-only members for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The duo of Barton College (Wilson, North Carolina) and Erskine College (Due West, South Carolina) are both members of the Conference Carolinas in other sports. Both schools recently brought back football programs and needed to find a home as Conference Carolinas does not sponsor football.
Emory and Henry is joining Barton and Erskine Colleges in the SAC for the 2022-23 season. Emory and Henry spent the 2021-22 season as a Division II Independent after moving up from the Division III Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Anderson University (South Carolina) will be adding football with the intent to join the SAC as well starting with the 2024-25 season.
Northwood University is moving from the GLIAC to the GMAC starting with the 2022-23 season. The University of South Carolina-Beaufort is moving from the Sun Conference at the NAIA level to become a Division 2 member and will play in the Peach Belt Conference as soon as the 2022-23 season.
The University of the Sciences and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania signed a letter of intent to explore a merger of the two schools. USciences is a D2 member of the CACC while St. Joe’s is a D1 member of the Atlantic 10 Conference. In June 2021, St. Joe’s gave a timeline of 2022 for the deal to be completed, which likely means it will be in effect beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. USciences will no longer field sports teams as part of the merger.
Post University (Waterbury, Connecticut) announced an intention to become a Division II member in football. They will be moving from a sprint football team into a to-be-determined Division II conference in the future.
The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference will see a change in the coming years after the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors voted to merge six of the schools into two. The California University of Pennsylvania, Clarion University, and Edinboro University will become one institution while Bloomsburg University, Lock Haven University, and Mansfield University will merge to become another institution.
The schools will continue to operate as a campus as an arm of the new institution and each campus will continue to use the current name. Each campus also plans to keep the athletics as separate entities instead of becoming a single sports team at the new institution. The new organization is expected to begin for the 2022-23 academic year.
10/23/21 Update: California University, Clarion University, and Edinboro University will be known as Pennsylvania Western University. Each campus will retain its name so California University will be known as Pennsylvania Western University Clarion. A new name has not been bestowed upon the trio of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield.
Thomas More (Crestview Hills, Kentucky) will leave the Mid-South Conference in the NAIA to move up to Division 2. They have been invited to the Great Midwest Athletic Conference and will submit a formal application in early 2022. Thomas More is currently planning to be a member of the GMAC starting with the 2022-23 academic year.
11/18/21 Update: The Lone Star Conference announced the addition of three football-only affiliate members from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Starting in 2022-23, Central Washington, Simon Fraser, and Western Oregon will play conference games in the Lone Star. Simon Fraser is located in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
12/16/21 Update: The University of Bridgeport in Connecticut will change conferences after the season. The Purple Knights will leave the East Coast Conference to join the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. The change coincides with the addition of 10 sports next year as announced in October.
3/3/22 Update: The three Pennsylvania Universities of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield will be known as the Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania. As with the other merging of California University, Clarion University, and Edinboro University, the new name and structure will go into effect on July 1, 2022.
5/2/22 Update: Westmont College (Montecito, California) applied to become a member of Division 2 according to notes from a March 2022 video conference. Westmont is currently a member of the Golden State Athletic Conference. A decision on its application will be made later in 2022 along with a timeline for a possible transition.
Averett University in Danville, Virginia will be changing conferences at the Division 3 level. They will move from the USA South Athletic Conference to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference starting in 2022-23. The Mississippi University for Women announced in June 2021 that they will be leaving Division 3 independent status to join the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference beginning in 2022-23.
Medaille College (Buffalo, New York) is leaving the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference to join the Empire 8 starting with the 2022-23 season. Despite the name, the Empire 8 will be at 10 members when Medaille College joins.
Mills College – based in Oakland, California – announced it would no longer be a degree-granting institution. Instead, they will focus on research after the 2022-23 academic year. Mills is a member of the Division 3 Coast to Coast Conference.
Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas) announced a move from the American Southwest Conference to the Southern Athletic Association in a football-only move starting with the 2023-24 academic year. They will be the tenth football member of the SAA when they join in 2023 and will have some company as an affiliate member. Trinity University (San Antonio) has been an affiliate member in football since 2017.
SUNY Maritime will leave the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference to become members of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference. They will join the NEWMAC starting with the 2023-24 season.
10/13/21 Update: Allegheny College announced they will leave the North Coast Athletic Conference after the 2021-22 academic year and return to the President’s Athletic Conference beginning with the 2022-23 season. Allegheny was a member of the PAC from 1958 through 1984.
11/10/21 Update: Two schools announced the addition or return of football. Hilbert College (Hamburg, New York) of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference will add football in addition to women’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s track and field. All sports will start in time for the 2022-23 academic year. There was no information on which football conference Hilbert would join.
Centenary College (Shreveport, Louisiana) announced they will bring back football starting with the 2024-25 season. Centenary had a football program from 1894 through 1941 and again in the 1960s but scrapped the sport. The school is a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference in most sports. The SCAC does not sponsor football, which means Centenary will have to find a different home for that sport.
11/25/21 Update: Belhaven University (Jackson, Mississippi) will leave the American Southwest Conference and join USA South starting with the 2022-23 season. This will leave the ASC with 10 full members (and 9 football-playing ones) while the USA South will maintain its membership at 19 (Averett is leaving in 2022 for the ODAC).
2/19/22 Update: The USA South Conference announced a split of its 19-team super conference with the creation of the 9-team Collegiate Conference of the South. The 9 teams that will become members of the CCS will be Agnes Scott College, Berea College, Belhaven University, Covenant College, Huntingdon College, LaGrange College, Maryville College, Piedmont University, and Wesleyan College. The new-look USA South and newly-established CCS will begin their respective journeys with the 2022-23 academic year. Belhaven, Huntingdon, LaGrange, and Maryville will keep some select teams – including football – in the USA South.
3/2/22 Update: The North Atlantic Conference will be expanding for the 2023-24 academic year with two new members. Lesley University (Cambridge, Massachusetts) will move from the New England Collegiate Conference while SUNY Morrisville will leave the United East Conference (the football is currently in the Empire 8 conference, a sport the NAC does not sponsor).
5/22/22 Update: Carlow University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) has applied for Division 3 membership. Carlow is currently a member of the River States Conference at the NAIA level as well as the smaller United State Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) made up of smaller schools and junior colleges. It is not known when Carlow will start the transition as they need to be approved and the potential conferences are yet to be determined as well.
The Southern State Athletic Conference will welcome Life University (Marietta, Georgia) starting with the 2022-23 season. The Running Eagles will remain a member of the Mid-South Conference until the conclusion of the 2021-22 academic year.
Sierra Nevada University will become part of the University of Nevada, Reno as part of an agreement between the two schools. SNU participates at the NAIA level in the Cal Pac Conference. According to the press release from Nevada, this is the first step in the process and nothing will change for the 2021-22 academic year and any changes in athletics or full incorporation into the University of Nevada will happen at a later date.
Bismarck State is planning to join the NAIA in the future although has yet to set a definite timetable for the move. Bismarck State is currently a two-year college but will transition to a 4-year college along with the move to NAIA. The logical destination for Bismarck is the North Star Athletic Association.
11/13/21 Update: Indiana University – Purdue University Colombus (IUPUC) will seek membership in the NAIA starting with the 2022-23 season. IUPUC currently offers some club teams but will add intercollegiate programs in baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s cross country. There was no word on which conference IUPUC will join as an NAIA member.
11/16/21 Update: Cottey College (Nevada, Missouri) was announced as the newest member of the American Midwest Conference beginning in 2022-23. The Comets are currently in the Continental Athletic Conference, which is a loosely affiliated group of independent NAIA institutions.
12/10/21 Update: A sad update as Ohio Valley University (Vienna, West Virginia) announced they would close after the completion of the 2021 fall semester due to financial hardship. OVU left the GMAC at the Division 2 level following the 2020-21 academic year to become a member of the NAIA’s River States Conference.
12/22/21 Update: The Sun Conference announced the return of football after a 5-year hiatus. Ave Maria, Florida Memorial, Keiser, Southeastern, St. Thomas (FL), Warner, and Webber International will be the teams for the Sun Conference’s return in 2022. Those 7 schools previously played in the Mid-South Conference, which was created when the two conferences merged in 2017.
1/5/22 Update: Southern University at New Orleans is bringing back athletics for the 2022-23 academic year. SUNO dropped sports after the 2019-20 season to save on costs after being a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. SUNO may return to that conference but a decision on the full list of sports they’re bringing back and which conference they join will be released at a later date.
1/20/22 Update: The Gulf Coast Athletic Conference announced the addition of three schools including the previous entry Southern University at New Orleans. SUNO – along with Oakwood University (Huntsville, Alabama) and Wiley College (Marshall, Texas) – will join the GCAC beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. SUNO and Oakwood both are awaiting NAIA approval to become members while Wiley will leave the Red River Athletic Conference.
2/8/22 Update: Lyon College (Batesville, Arkansas) will move from the NAIA to the NCAA Division 3 level. Lyon plays in the American Midwest Conference at the NAIA level and the destination at D3 has yet to be determined. Lyon will attempt to become a provisional D3 member in 2022-23 with an expedited application.
2/12/22 Update: Evangel University (Springfield, Missouri) will have a new home in 2023-24 when they become members of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. Evangel will play the 2022-23 season as a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference, which they joined in 1987.
2/23/22 Update: Lincoln Christian (Lincoln, Illinois) will drop all sports after the 2022 academic year. The school has seen declining enrollment, which has impacted them financially.
3/31/22 Update: The college named after Abraham Lincoln will close its doors in May 2022 for the final time. Lincoln College (Lincoln and Normal, Illinois) announced they will close at the end of the spring semester year due to financial difficulties from the COVID pandemic, which led to a significant drop in enrollment. The Lynx are a member of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference and joined the CCAC for the 2020-21 academic year.
4/14/22 Update: The NAIA announced the acceptance of 4 new members for the 2022-23 academic year. They confirmed the previously announced additions of IUPUC, Oakwood, and Southern University at New Orleans as well as North American University (Houston, Texas). North American University does not currently have a conference affiliation lined up.
4/23/22 Update: Another school announced they would close. Marymount California University in Rancho Palos Verdes will close effective August 31, 2022 after a vote by the Board of Trustees. The school is facing a budget crunch and a failed merger with Saint Leo’s University in Florida fell through shortly before the closure became official.
8/3/22 Update: The Appalachian Athletic Conference announced in late July they would begin sponsoring football and men’s volleyball beginning with the 2022-23 academic year. For football, there will be 6 teams to start the inaugural season: Bluefield, Kentucky Christian, Point University, Reinhardt, St. Andrews, and Union. Those six schools were previously part of the Mid-South Conference’s Appalachian Division.
The Mid-South Conference announced the addition of Wilberforce (Ohio) University for some sports in 2022-23 and the remainder in 2023-24. Wilberforce was a member of the Continental Athletic Conference during the 2021-22 academic year. Wilberforce does not sponsor football.
Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University
7 thoughts on “College Sports Realignment for 2022 (and Beyond)”
Mount Marty is playing football in the NAIA GPAC this year, not starting in 2022
Thanks for the info. I’ve removed them from this post and amended the previous one.
Love the Blog! Lindenwood is joining the OVC this year!
Lincoln College in Illinois NAIA is closing in may
Nvm you already had it my bad
Actually they are different! https://news.yahoo.com/lincoln-college-plans-close-may-215156683.html
Thanks for the info! The article has been updated.