After years of all-sports membership in the American Athletic Conference, the University of Connecticut may be set to depart for familiar territory, rejoining former rivals in the Big East Conference.
ESPN reports that while nothing is official yet, the university’s board of trustees is expected to approve the move, which could come as soon as this week. If approved, the Huskies would be back to Big East competition for basketball and other sports as early as 2020.
Should UConn make the move, the fate of its football program would hang in the balance. The Big East — currently comprised of Butler University, Creighton University, DePaul University, Georgetown University, Marquette University, Providence College, St. John’s University, Seton Hall University, Villanova University and Xavier University — does not sponsor football. It’s unlikely that football would remain in the American, leaving open the possibility of the program going independent or seeking another conference home.
Since the original Big East fracturing in 2013, UConn’s programs have had varied success competing in the American. Its football program has gone 28-69 in the American against such foes as UCF, Houston and Memphis. Meanwhile, its storied women’s basketball program hasn’t lost a conference game, going 102-0 in the American. The men’s program, which has four national titles to its credit, reportedly suffered it’s lowest attendance figure in 30 years during the 2017-18 season.
If UConn does indeed exit the American, it will be required to pay $10 million and give the conference 27-months’ notice, which would allow the AAC to pursue replacement members.
ESPN reported that either Army or Air Force would be considered for football-only membership, and that another school could join as a basketball member.
The website Digital Sports Desk first reported UConn’s planned Big East return.