Army to join American Athletic Conference in 2024

By Kevin Kelley -

The Army Black Knights will join the American Athletic Conference beginning with the 2024 season, it was announced on Wednesday.

Army will officially join The American effective on July 1, 2024. With the Navy Midshipmen also in the conference, the Army-Navy Game will continue to be played annually as a non-conference contest during the second weekend of December.

Should Army and Navy both finish at the top of the AAC standings, they would play in consecutive weeks in the American Football Championship and then again in the Army-Navy Game.

The Black Knights will also continue to play the Air Force Falcons annually in the non-conference, which preserves the battle for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy between the three service academies.

“I am excited to start the next chapter of Army football,” Army Director of Athletics Mike Buddie said. “In today’s evolving collegiate athletics landscape, it is great to partner with established, respected programs to secure the future success of Army football. New NCAA rules, the evolution and growth of the College Football Playoff, the transfer portal, and name, image and likeness have all impacted our competitive landscape, so having a clear path to a Conference Championship, while continuing to fight for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, will help us attract, retain, and showcase our exceptional coaches and cadets. What better pairing than to have America’s Team joining the American Athletic Conference?”

CBS Sports Network will continue to broadcast Army’s home football games through the 2028 season.

“Like many of the proud moments that Army Football has enjoyed over the last several seasons including victories over our academy rivals, record-setting seasons, Commander-in-Chief’s trophies, and multiple bowl games, Army’s alliance with the American Athletic Conference is a source of pride for our Academy, our program, and for me personally,” Army Head Coach Jeff Monken said.

“I am proud to be West Point’s coach as we take this step from a history of independency to conference affiliation and take on the challenges of the competition in the American Athletic Conference. Our membership in the AAC partners us with outstanding Universities and athletic programs from around the nation and will give our football program the opportunity to compete for a conference championship and for our exceptional Cadet-Athletes to represent and showcase America’s premier service academy.”

The United States Military Academy West Point, located in West Point, N.Y., has competed as a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Independent since the 2005 season. Prior to that, Army’s football program was a member of Conference USA from 1998 through 2004.

The Black Knights play their football games at historic Blaik Field at Michie Stadium, which currently has a seating capacity of 38,000.

“We are honored to welcome Army to the American Athletic Conference,” AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said. “Army’s football program has an iconic national brand with a legacy of success that spans more than a century and is a perfect fit with our conference. We are immensely proud to welcome another of our nation’s distinguished service academies with a proud history and central role in defending America and our freedoms, and which is one of the nation’s most prestigious academic institutions. I would like to thank Lieutenant General Steven Gilland and Athletic Director Mike Buddie for their vision and partnership throughout this process. We look forward to having Army and coach Jeff Monken on our sidelines beginning in 2024.”

Army will replace the SMU Mustangs in The American following their move to the ACC in 2024. Below is a look at the complete American Athletic Conference lineup beginning next season:

  • Army Black Knights
  • Charlotte 49ers
  • East Carolina Pirates
  • Florida Atlantic Owls
  • Memphis Tigers
  • Navy Midshipmen
  • North Texas Mean Green
  • Rice Owls
  • Temple Owls
  • Tulane Green Wave
  • Tulsa Golden Hurricane
  • UAB Blazers
  • USF Bulls
  • UTSA Roadrunners

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Comments (25)

The American should add

Middle Tennessee State University (good basketball mens and womens, good football program)
Western Kentucky (same as MTSU)
Appalachian State-Football
Troy University-Football program

I don’t think Troy and App State would leave the Sun Belt for the American. The Sun Belt is more stable and I dare say better overall with some the defections theAmerican has suffered over the last few seasons.

If I was the American I would add Uconn football only and Liberty.

American is better than CUSA so I would assume LIberty would approve.
Uconn has good schedules but if they can 8 conference games they can still schedule 4 power5 team or 3 P5 and umass/fcs team.

I believe Western Kentucky and MTSU wanted to join the MAC over the AAC. They’re going to stay in the SBC for now—please—we need some stability. This realignment year after year is ridiculous.

Army currently has nine games scheduled for 2024, so they will need to cancel five of them. They are keeping the Air Force and Navy games, so five of the following seven games are going to be cancelled:

08/31 – at Ball State
09/07 – at UConn
09/21 – Syracuse
09/28 – Dartmouth
10/19 – at UNLV
11/09 – at UMass
11/16 – Wake Forest

Several of these games are tied to multi-game contracts, some of which are already in progress. It will be interesting to see how they handle this, and how quickly. I suspect the ADs at Oregon State and Washington State will be watching closely.

Given Cancellations scenario–

They get (4) AAC games at home……my guess is that they keep

Syracuse or Wake Forest

That gives them 6 at home, 6 on the road. I think they’d like to keep Ball State game, because that’s a fair fight game that they can win—-I know there is some historical significance with playing Dartmouth, but that game should be removed–it would probably be easiest to do because it is a one-off affair. If that happens, maybe they keep Syracuse and Wake Forest.

They are keeping Air Force and Navy, so they can only keep two of the four games you mentioned, at most.

Air Force is at home in 2024 and Navy is obviously neutral site, so that gives them 5 home games, 4 true road games and one neutral site game. I would then assume they keep one home and one road game from the group listed above. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them keep Dartmouth and Ball State, just to give themselves a chance to win a couple of games. They also have to consider the future impact of cancelling a game that is part of a longer contract.

Re Cancellations and John:

Army is keeping its 2024 games with Navy and Air Force, and adding 8 AAC games. That’s 10 out of 12, so Army will only keep two of their other previously scheduled 2024 nonconference games.

I mentioned this move over the summer with the PAC12 fall.

I wonder if they try to add anymore teams.

Maybe Uconn football only and a team like Liberty.

Todd I’m from CT and a Uconn fan since 2000’s.

Uconn/uconn fans wanted back in the Big East for basketball. American basketball was a joke and really hurt recruiting. Now back in the BE Uconn is getting top 10 recruiting classes every year and might get the #1 overall recruit next year.

That’s why I said football only. No way for other sports.

Uconn already has 4 American teams on the schedule next year Army, UAB, FAU, Temple.
25 UAB and Army
26 Army and FAU

American would give Uconn a chance at a conference champ game + more bowl tie ins. Probably more money for TV vs their deal with CBSSN.

If I remember correctly Uconn wanted to stay in the American football only and were told all or nothing.

To those suggesting the American add UConn to the conference, the Huskies were part of the conference and chose to become independent. The American didn’t want them to leave and would still have UConn if it were up to the conference, but it takes two to tango. UConn was so firm in their choice NOT to be part of the American, they cancelled their entire 2020 football season rather than be a part of the conference.

It is funny though–I think Connecticut was interested in being a football only member, but the conference balked. Now they’ve added Army for football only and there is talk of adding VCU for basketball only (Wichita State is in for basketball and other sports). A little ironic don’t you think.

But this was before the conference got raided by the B12……

Has the AAC ever considered UMass for football/sports?

Uconn wanted out because the American was killing their basketball programs.

Now back in the BE basketball is crushing recruiting.

I believe Uconn wanted to stay football only and the American told them all or nothing.

Hawaii has a serious stadium issue, if not resolved could leave them without an FBS conference or forced into FCS. What does this have to do with Army and the AAC? Well, in theory, the American could look at adding Air Force and UConn (that is frequently mentioned), bringing the conference to 16 institutions. The AAC could implement a 3-6-6 schedule format and have the commander’s trophy games make up 2/3 of those institutions permanent 3 contests. The reason the Army-Navy game was reported to remain a non-conference contest is, of course, the TV deal and the revenue in generates for the Academies’ athletic department. The AAC should allow those institutions to maintain that much needed extra revenue (they don’t have “big money donors” like traditional universities) and separate that game from the conference’s TV package, but make it a conference game. Look at moving the game to the very first game of the year, every year, in week 0 to maintain a special spot on the calendar. It could also continue to be played at various neutral sites along the east coast.

Also, if Air Force did join the American and Hawaii was jettisoned (for lack of proper stadium or one on the horizon) a Pac-2/MWC merger would result in a 12-team league. If the merged entity chose to go to 16 schools, as is becoming the norm, they could retain Hawaii and add Sacrament State (for 4 Cali school like the old Pac), Montana, and a choice of Montana State or North Dakota State.

What happens to all those games that Army has scheduled in the future? We know that their NC games will include Air Force and Navy, that leaves room for just two more. In some ways, they should count the Navy game as conference to give them more scheduling flexibility, but I understand the wanting to keep that game as a stand-alone on the second Saturday in December.

I know they’re supposed to host Marist in 2025. Marist, a school that plays FCS football with no athletic scholarships. That’s a total mismatch–does this game survive and stay on the schedule. Preface: I follow and attend Marist games.

I didn’t like the idea of Army joining the American, but after studying the opponents more, they should be alright there. Temple, the Texas schools, East Carolina, no reason that they can’t be competitive in the AAC.

Army also schedules (2) FCS teams per year—that has to change, too I would think with just (2) NC games to schedule going forward.

So Army/Navy will never be a conference game? That’s weird.
The AAC should just get rid of their conference championship game (it’s not like they need it), and have the Army/Navy game count as a conference matchup in Week 14 or 15.

Could they also choose to play a game in Ireland or overseas with a waiver, or schedule Hawai’i and work to get the 13th game exception? I forget the reading of the bylaw but if the Army Navy game were played in Hawaii, would that also qualify for the 13th game exception? I can see a huge attraction for Navy doing that, but the Army was in the Pacific during World War II and Korea and Vietnam also.
Definitely Oregon State and Washington State’s AD’s should be calling up Army and their opponents and offering them deals and outs!

No waiver needed for 13th game if they play overseas or play Hawaii. However, teams playing 13 regular-season games is very rare. Army and Navy would not want to do that every season.

The American must add three schools (one non-football) to become a 16-team conference ASAP. Those should be Florida International and Louisiana Tech (both from C-USA in all sports) and UT-Arlington (non-football from the WAC). Those moves should take effect as early as next year if not in 2025 IMO.

Wichita State (non-football) already replaces Navy (football only); so why not have UT-Arlington do the same for Army (football only)? It makes sense to me.