The American Athletic Conference Board of Directors and commissioner Mike Aresco announced late Thursday that six universities have had their applications for membership in the AAC approved by the conference’s nine continuing members.
The six new institutions, whose membership in The American will begin on a date to be determined, will be:
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham – Birmingham, Alabama
- Florida Atlantic University – Boca Raton, Florida
- The University of North Carolina at Charlotte – Charlotte, North Carolina
- The University of North Texas – Denton, Texas
- Rice University – Houston, Texas
- The University of Texas at San Antonio – San Antonio, Texas
The six universities will join the nine continuing members – East Carolina, Memphis, Navy (football only), South Florida, SMU, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa and Wichita State (basketball and Olympic sports only) - to bring The American’s membership to 15 schools. The American will compete as a 14-team league in football and in men’s and women’s basketball, among other sports. “On behalf of the American Athletic Conference presidents, I look forward to years of healthy competition with our six new members,” Michael Fitts, president of Tulane University and Chair of The American’s Board of Directors, said in a statement. “I am confident that we have not only added fine institutions that share our collective ambition for national success, but we have done so in a deliberate and sensible way that will contribute to the long-term future of the conference.”
“I am extremely pleased to welcome these six outstanding universities to the American Athletic Conference,” said Aresco. “This is a strategic expansion that accomplishes a number of goals as we take the conference into its second decade. We are adding excellent institutions that are established in major cities and have invested in competing at the highest level. We have enhanced geographical concentration which will especially help the conference’s men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports teams. And we will continue to provide valuable inventory to our major media rights partner, ESPN, which will feature our members on the most prominent platforms in sports media. Additionally, we increase the value in live content options for CBS Sports, which features selected men’s basketball games from the conference.” The AAC will have a presence in four of the top 10, seven of the top 25 and 12 of the top 51 Nielsen media markets. The league will have four teams in the state of Texas, two each in Florida and North Carolina and one each in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma and Kansas.