Rowing joins the Big 12 in 2024-2025 season

Managing editor Isabella Musollino says this season will be rowing’s last one in the AAC.
Following recent changes in its membership, the American Athletic Conference will no longer sponsor a women’s rowing championship. The decision comes after three major shifts in the conference: San Diego State cut its rowing program in 2021, UCF moved to the Big 12 this championship season and SMU departed for the Atlantic Coast Conference. After SMU departs following the 2024 championship, the AAC will be left with just four schools: Temple, Tulsa, Old Dominion, and Sacramento State. Tulsa and Temple are both AAC conference members, while Old Dominion and Sacramento State are affiliate schools.
The NCAA requires that a minimum of six schools compete in a Division I conference championship to earn an automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA rowing championship. Despite only having five schools for 2024, a one-year grace period allows the AAC to award one final automatic bid before SMU’s departure.
With the AAC no longer sponsoring rowing, the University of Tulsa’s women’s rowing team will become an affiliate of the Big 12 conference beginning in the 2024-25 academic year. Tulsa and Old Dominion will join UCF, Kansas, Kansas State and West Virginia to compete for the Big 12 championship in 2025.
Four SEC schools, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama and Tennessee, were affiliate members of the Big 12 for rowing but will be leaving the conference as Tulsa and Old Dominion make their entry. Where these four teams will go is still undetermined, as the SEC does not sponsor a women’s rowing championship.
Addressing the shift, Head Coach Brandon Campbell said, “We are very excited for the opportunity to race in the Big 12 in coming years. I want to thank our administration for helping us secure a spot. Our team has been hard at work elevating our potential and look forward to showcasing that in 2025 and beyond.”
The Tulsa rowing program began in 1997, starting as a member of Conference USA before becoming a member of the AAC. Now in its 28th season, the program will be met with opportunities for growth.
In a statement, Tulsa’s vice president and director of athletics, Rick Dickson, said, “I’m pleased that our program has found a home in the Big 12 with schools that we have familiarity with and a history of out-of-conference competition. This move gives us the opportunity to keep our successful rowing program at a prominent level.”
The first race of the Golden Hurricane’s final stint in the American is on March 9 against the University of Central Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. It’s only home race of the season will be on March 23 against Creighton. The race will be held at Catoosa. The rowing team will begin its travel season by heading to Florida for the Sunshine State Invitational, followed by a weekend in California at the Lake Natoma Invitational. Finally, the Golden Hurricane will close out with a regatta in North Carolina at the Lake Wheeler Invitational. The Golden Hurricane will head to Oakridge, Tennessee, on May 12 to compete for the AAC title for the very last time.

Post Author: Isabella Musollino