Six schools are interested in moving to the American Athletic Conference, according to a report by Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports.
Per the report, the Charlotte 49ers, Florida Atlantic Owls, North Texas Mean Green, Rice Owls, UAB Blazers, and UTSA Roadrunners are each expected to apply for acceptance into the American Athletic Conference this week. All six teams are current members of Conference USA.
If all six teams apply and are accepted, the American would expand to a 14-team conference in 2023. The aforementioned six schools would join East Carolina, Memphis, Navy, SMU, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa, and USF.
The new schools also offer the current crew of football schools – Temple, Memphis, Tulane, USF, East Carolina, Navy, Tulsa and SMU – an entree into some of the richest recruiting areas in the country: Houston, San Antonio, greater Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Charlotte and Birmingham.
The AAC’s move comes on the heels of a thwarted effort to lure four Mountain West schools into the league. While the AAC never technically offered Boise State, Air Force, Colorado State and San Diego State, there was an extended courtship that was followed by a vocal commitment to staying in the Mountain West Conference. This move would limit the ability of the Mountain West to enter Texas, as it gives the AAC four schools in the state and no obvious options for the Mountain West to add.
The American will lose three teams beginning with the 2023 season. Back in September, the Big 12 announced the addition of the Cincinnati Bearcats, Houston Cougars, and UCF Knights to their conference.
Following the departure of UConn from the conference in 2019, the American scrapped their divisional setup. While it’s currently unknown if the American will move to divisions again, here is a look at a possible East-West alignment (based on geography alone):
- East Carolina
- Florida Atlantic
- North Texas