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American Athletic Conference rebuilding with 6 C-USA schools

Conference Realignment Football
Posted at 3:51 PM, Oct 21, 2021

The American Athletic Conference is adding UAB, Texas-San Antonio, Rice, North Texas, Charlotte, and Florida Atlantic to the league, replacing three schools that are leaving for the Big 12 Conference and growing to 14 teams.

The AAC announced the additions Thursday, a move that it hopes will stabilize the conference in the short term and allow it to withstand future poaching of its members by wealthier leagues.

The conference said when exactly the new members join is still to be determined.

“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,” AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement.

The American, formerly the Big East, has been a feeder conference from Power Five leagues for nearly two decades. Most recently, the Big 12 announced the additions of AAC powers Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida to replace Southeastern Conference-bound Oklahoma and Texas.

The Sooners and Longhorns have said they will join the SEC in 2025, but a quicker departure is possible.

The Big 12 has said it is targeting 2023 for the arrival of its new members, which also includes BYU.

The AAC’s move strips Conference USA of six schools, leaving that league both searching for new members and trying to fend off other poachers. The Sun Belt has said it is interested in expanding beyond its current 10 football members and some of C-USA’s remaining eight schools would be geographic fits.

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