The American Athletic Conference will officially add six new Conference USA member institutions on July 1, 2023, in time for the 2023 football season. With all six members joining and three leaving, The American will be a 14-team league for the foreseeable future. .
“We are extremely happy and excited to welcome our newest members to the conference in 2023 as we enter our second decade,” said AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco. “Our incoming schools are a distinguished group with attributes that will enhance the Power 6 goals of our conference. We have already seen the investment and commitment these institutions have made as they prepare to compete in The American, and , with our titular institutions accomplished, the conference is assured of many years of competition at the championship level as part of a bright future that will build on the extraordinary legacy of the last decade.”
The six schools joining a new conference house are UAB, FAU, Charlotte, North Texas, Rice and UTSA. All six have announced plans to join the AAC in October 2021. The teams bring some of the largest media markets in the country to the AAC, including the three largest markets in Texas.
The decision comes just days after outgoing members Cincinnati, Houston and UCF announced they would be leaving the AAC for the Big 12 – also on July 1, 2023. The Big 12 added those three schools, along with BYU, after having lost Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC, which will take place sometime before the 2025 season.
The Texas and Oklahoma decision sparked a wave of transformation in Five Eyes conferences. Conference USA was particularly hard hit as nine of its members left for either the American or the Sun Belt. The American has been considered the strongest Five-Four league in the nation since its inception, but is losing teams responsible for six of its eight conference championships.