American to review expansion candidates after six Conference USA teams apply for membership

The American Athletic Convention is about to contemplate growth this week after six Convention USA applications utilized for membership on Wednesday. If all six groups are added to the AAC, it could broaden to turn out to be a 14-team league as soon as realignment shakes out.

The six potential establishments seeking to be part of the American from Convention USA embody FAU, Charlotte, North Texas, UTSA, Rice and UAB, sources advised CBS Sports activities on Monday. It is anticipated that every one six applications will probably be accepted as new AAC members. Yahoo Sports activities’ Pete Thamel first reported the motion.

Including North Texas, UTSA and Rice would permit the AAC to retain a robust geographical foothold in Texas, whereas FAU would be part of South Florida within the convention, Charlotte and UAB would have regional companions in East Carolina and Memphis, respectively.

The potential strikes comes months after AAC members CincinnatiHouston and UCF opted to depart for the Large 12, leaving the league with simply eight football-playing members. The AAC previously looked to the West by courting Mountain West establishments Boise State, San Diego State, Air Force and Colorado State. Nevertheless, all 4 faculties declined the potential of shifting conferences. 

“We do need to get again to both 10 or 12 [schools],” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco advised the Orlando Sentinel in September. “We have now some good candidates and we’re solely coping with candidates who’ve approached us — who’ve expressed an curiosity in us. It is continuing and I am fairly assured we’ll find yourself as a robust convention and our aim is to be even stronger than earlier than.” 

The AAC is banking on security in numbers. At 14 groups with many necessary geographic footprints below its belt, the American would stand with the Mountain West as the 2 strongest non-Energy 5 conferences. The transfer would additionally gouge Convention USA, which can now search groups from the Solar Belt or a partnership with that convention after itself being decreased to eight members.

This spherical of realignment would depart Convention USA with simply eight remaining members, which is one purpose why it not too long ago sought however didn’t persuade the AAC and Solar Belt to regroup alongside geographical traces. It’s believed that there’ll stay 10 FBS conferences following this spherical of realignment.

As for when this might all transpire, that is still unknown.

“This most likely is within the fingers of Texas and Oklahoma,” stated a supply from one of many six Convention USA groups exploring the AAC. “The earlier they go, the earlier we will go.”

The headliners of the brand new group are UTSA and UAB, maybe the 2 finest groups in Convention USA this season. The Roadrunners entered the AP Prime 25 for the primary time at No. 24 after a 7-0 begin. UAB and FAU have captured the final 4 C-USA championships relationship again to 2017. 

Like UTSA, Charlotte is among the youthful applications in college football. The 49ers began operations in 2013 and have discovered modest success below third-year coach Will Healy, who holds a 13-12 document throughout the final three seasons. North Texas reached three straight bowl video games from 2016-18 and has dramatically improved its services and funding previously 5 years, however it might be looking for a brand new coach after a 1-5 begin in 2021. 

Rice can be a somewhat-surprising addition, although it shares an instructional familiarity with Navy. Since falling out of the Southwest Convention in 1995, the Owls have struggled to remain aggressive in non-power conferences. Rice has completed with a shedding document 18 occasions within the final 26 seasons for the reason that SWC folded. 

The group places an emphasis on large markets, that includes groups in Houston, San Antonio, Birmingham, Charlotte and on the sting of the Dallas-Fort Price Metroplex. Different faculties that can compete within the hypothetical AAC embody SMU, Memphis, East Carolina, Temple, Tulsa, South Florida, Navy and Tulane.

It isn’t clear what a 14-team AAC can be price in media rights income. Convention USA faculties get about $500,000 yearly of their present TV deal. The AAC, because it at present exists, averages $7 million per group. That determine is anticipated to say no considerably after the lack of three faculties to the Large 12.

Mountain West sources advised CBS Sports activities on Monday night time that the convention won’t broaden past the present 12 groups in soccer. MWC presidents see no worth in including groups. A contributing issue is that the MWC’s rightsholders, Fox and CBS, can be unlikely to extend their contracts if the league expands, MWC sources stated. Groups within the league earn a median of $5 million per yr, and the MWC’s present TV deal expires in 2026.

“I do not perceive the worth of 14 [in the AAC],” stated a high-profile supply accustomed to media rights price of faculties, “however extra energy to them.”

MWC commissioner Craig Thompson admitted this weekend that he had spoken to “4 to 6” faculties whereas investigating potential growth. Three of these had been considered North Texas, UTSA and Rice with an purpose of making a stronger recruiting presence in Texas.

Two weeks in the past, Colorado State and Air Power stated they might keep within the MWC regardless of curiosity from the AAC. CBS Sports activities reported this summer time the Large 12 might nonetheless broaden to 14 with the addition Boise State from the MWC and Memphis from the AAC. 

The AAC has lengthy been thought of the premier Group of 5 convention, however the lack of three headliners put the league in a hazardous place. The Large 12 nabbed six of the seven outright convention champions for the reason that AAC started operations in 2013. Whereas the additions will add some new contenders to the convention, the league will virtually actually fall again.

Metrics utilized by the Group of 5 to measure schedule energy now present the MWC because the dominant convention among the many 5. It’s identified that AAC commissioner Mike Aresco has been telling his current groups to face robust as he aimed to maintain the convention ready of energy. The AAC has gotten 5 of the out there seven New 12 months’s Six bowl berths within the historical past of the CFP. | American to overview growth candidates after six Convention USA groups apply for membership


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