Chicago State looks to add football and could an HBCU conference be in their future?

Courtesy of Chicago State Athletics

The Board of Trustees of Chicago State University (CSU) has approved a proposal to immediately move forward with a public fundraising campaign to expand the University’s athletics programming. Fundraising will support the expansion of Division I sports and potentially add FCS Division I Football (Football Championship Subdivision). The Board also approved the launch of a women’s triathlon program, set to begin in fall 2024. The addition of the triathlon and sports expansion fundraising were based on recommendations from a sports exploratory committee formed earlier this year. 

“I appreciate the contributions of our sports expansion exploratory committee to Chicago State. As a regional public university in Chicago, we are committed to implementing strategies that will enhance the student experience and support the economic development of our community,” said Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott, President of CSU. “We look forward to a successful fundraising campaign and to make our visions a reality.”  

CSU has established an initial goal of $4 million to support sports expansion, with an emphasis on women’s athletics. If approved by the Board, CSU football could begin as early as fall 2025 and would be the only Division I football program on Chicago’s South Side. More information about the fundraising campaign and how to donate can be found on the CSU Sports Expansion page.

“Expanding women’s athletics and having a Division I football team will make such a positive impact on the community – from young aspiring athletes in the neighborhood schools to local business owners,” said Howard Griffith, a member of CSU’s exploratory committee, two-time NFL Super Bowl Champion, Illinois All-American, and current Big Ten Network analyst. “I’m proud to be a part of this process, and I look forward to great things from the CSU Cougars.”

The Chicago State women’s triathlon program – the first phase in the school’s intercollegiate athletics expansion – will begin in fall 2024 thanks to grant funding from USA Triathlon.  

“We are grateful to the exploratory committee for their work, which has led us to this milestone moment in CSU history and our sports program. We also appreciate the CSU community including alumni for their enthusiasm and support in this journey,” said Dr. Monique Carroll, CSU’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. “Launching women’s triathlon and our fundraising campaign for sports expansion represent a major step forward in the future of Chicago State Athletics. It’s a great time to be a Cougars fan!”

Currently, CSU Athletics is composed of 15 intercollegiate teams involving over 150 student-athletes who compete in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and volleyball. Expanding these offerings is part of a larger strategy to attract more students and enhance their experience at the 156-year-old institution. To make a donation to support its athletics expansion, click here.

For more information on the exploratory committee, potential sponsorship opportunities, or upcoming Chicago State Athletics schedules, visit

About Chicago State University
Chicago State University, founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The University’s five colleges offer over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting and non-degree programs. CSU is committed to equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois and ranked by a Harvard economist in the top 4% of public and private universities nationwide in supporting our graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent civic space on the greater South Side of Chicago by hosting a multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities. The University is located near public transit that provides convenient access to the campus

About Chicago State Athletics
Chicago State University Athletics is composed of 15 intercollegiate teams involving over 150 student-athletes that compete in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and volleyball. CSU held memberships in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and NCAA Division II before transitioning to NCAA Division I in 1994. 

Check out my conversation with Chicago State Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Monique Carroll at

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