The American Athletic Conference will officially add six new member institutions from Conference USA on July 1, 2023, in time for the 2023 football season. With the six members joining and three departing, The American will be a 14-team league in the foreseeable future.
“We are extremely pleased and excited to welcome our new members to the conference in 2023, as we begin our second decade,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said. “Our incoming schools comprise a distinguished group with attributes that will enhance our conference’s Power 6 goals. We have already seen the investment and commitment that these institutions have made as they prepare to compete in The American, and, together with our accomplished incumbent institutions, the conference is assured of many years of championship-level competition as part of a bright future that will build on the extraordinary legacy of the past decade.”
The six schools joining a new conference home are UAB, FAU, Charlotte, North Texas, Rice and UTSA. All six announced their intent to join the AAC in October 2021. The teams bring some of the biggest media markets in the nation to the AAC, including the three of the biggest markets in Texas.
The decision comes just days after departing members Cincinnati, Houston and UCF announced they will leave the AAC for the Big 12 — also on July 1, 2023. The Big 12 added those three schools, along with BYU, after losing Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC, which will take place some time before the 2025 season.
Texas and Oklahoma’s decision has led to a wave of transformation in the Group of Five conferences. Conference USA has been especially hard hit as nine of their members departed to either The American or the Sun Belt. The American has been considered the strongest Group of Five league in the country since its inception, but is losing teams responsible for six of its eight outright conference championships.