American Athletic Conference Realignment Set For Next Year

AAC is Losing Three of its Top Contenders

The American Athletic Conference, of which Tulsa is a part, has finalized its team shifting set for the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year.

The conference is slated to gain six new members on the first of July next summer. Mike Aresco, the AAC’s Commissioner, announced on June 15 that the conference finalized its agreements with the future members. Rice, North Texas, Florida Atlantic, Charlotte, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) will be joining the remaining nine members; which include Tulsa, Temple, Tulane, Wichita State, Memphis, Southern Methodist University (SMU), South Florida, East Carolina and Navy. “We are extremely pleased and excited to welcome our new members to the conference in 2023, as we begin our second decade,” said Aresco.

Simultaneously, the conference is losing three member schools; Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida. They were invited to the Big XII, alongside Brigham Young University (BYU), and all accepted the invitation. This comes out of the announcement of Oklahoma (OU) and Texas (UT) stating that they plan to leave the Big XII in 2025. Understandably, the Big XII sought out new members.

On July 10, 2022, the AAC released an announcement that they came to terms with their outgoing members. Aresco said, “All three institutions enjoyed tremendous success under the American Athletic Conference banner, and all three were instrumental in taking the conference to great heights, both athletically and academically. We wish them the best and look forward to having them compete in our conference in 2022-23.”

Realignment is not new to the AAC, as it was born out of the 2012-2014 reorganization and turmoil of the Big East Conference. The conference is nine years old.

We will have the same 11 schools competing in football this season. Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will still compete in the conference this season, however it is their last year. This time next year, the Conference will have 15 full members, 14 of which play football. Wichita State does not sponsor a football team. The Navy is the only member who only competes in football.

Cincinnati, Houston and UCF have been top competitors within the AAC. Last football season, the three teams covered the top positions in the conference. Cincinnati took first with 13 wins and a single loss, this included an undefeated conference record of 8-0. Houston followed in second with an overall record of 12-2 and an undefeated conference record as well. UFC took third with a completed record of 9-4 and 5-3 conference record. Regarding the 2021-22 men’s basketball season, Houston had the best AAC record of 15-3 and won the AAC Basketball Tournament beating Memphis in the championship. UCF placed 6th in the conference with a record of 9-9. And lastly, Cincinnati concluded the season in 8th with a conference record of 7-11.

The AAC conference will be losing some of its top competitors across multiple sports and time will only tell how this will affect the conference and Tulsa.

Post Author: James Palke