Chicago State University joins Northeast Conference basketball, hopes to have football by 2025

John Garcia Image
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Chicago State University joins Northeast Conference
Chicago State University joins the Northeast Conference basketball beginning next season, and hope to have football program running by 2025.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Strike up the band; happy days are here again for the Chicago State University Cougars as the school will join the Northeast Conference beginning next season.

"Every athlete at the beginning of the season wants to compete for a championship and now our athletes will be able to say they can do that," said Dr. Monique Carroll, CSU athletic director.

The Northeast Conference currently has 10 schools in places like New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Like at Chicago State, basketball is the premier sport in the conference.

The Cougars play in a 7,500 seat arena on campus. Joining the conference is expected to provide not just a boost for CSU athletics, but also for the student population which has been on the rise in the last couple years.

"Having D-1 athletics on your campus helps enrollment and student engagement. It builds good alumni," said CSU Preisdent Z Scott.

The conference affiliation is also expected to make it easier for CSU teams to qualify for NCAA tournaments and championships, which is difficult to do as an independent team. It will also help the school's effort to start a football program, for which they are in the fundraising stage right now.

"It brings so much energy and spirit to the campus. There's nothing like a football home game in the fall. You can't replicate that with other sports," said Noreen Morris, Northeast Conference commissioner.

School officials hope to have football up and running by the 2025 season. It's unclear where they would play their home games, but at least they will have a conference home.