American Athletic Conference
American Athletic Conference logo.svg
FormerlyBig East (1979–2013)[note 1]
AssociationNCAA
FoundedMay 31, 1979; 43 years ago (1979-05-31) (de jure)
July 1, 2013; 9 years ago (2013-07-01) (de facto)[note 2]
CommissionerMichael Aresco (since 2012)
Sports fielded
  • 22
    • men's: 10
    • women's: 12
DivisionDivision I
SubdivisionFBS
No. of teams11 (full) + 7 (affiliate)
HeadquartersIrving, Texas
Official websitewww.theamerican.org
Locations
States with full members (blue) and affiliate members (red)
States with full members (blue) and affiliate members (red)

The American Athletic Conference (The American or AAC) is an American collegiate athletic conference, featuring 11 member universities and five affiliate member universities that compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Division I, with its football teams competing in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Member universities represent a range of private and public universities of various enrollment sizes located primarily in urban metropolitan areas in the Northeastern, Midwestern, and Southern regions of the United States.[1][2]

The American's legal predecessor, the original Big East Conference, was considered one of the six collegiate power conferences of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) era in college football, and The American inherited that status in the BCS's final season.[3] With the advent of the College Football Playoff in 2014, The American became a "Group of Five" conference, which shares one automatic spot in the New Year's Six bowl games.[note 3][4]

The league is the product of substantial turmoil in the old Big East during the 2010–14 conference realignment period. It is one of two conferences to emerge from the all-sports Big East in 2013. While the other successor, which does not sponsor football, purchased the Big East Conference name, The American inherited the old Big East's structure and is that conference's legal successor.[5] However, both conferences claim 1979 as their founding date, and the same history up to 2013.[6][7] The American is headquartered in Irving, Texas, and led by Commissioner Michael Aresco.[2][8]

The current full members of the conference are the University of Central Florida, University of Cincinnati, East Carolina University, University of Houston, University of Memphis, University of South Florida, Southern Methodist University, Temple University, Tulane University, University of Tulsa, and Wichita State University, though Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston will be departing the conference on July 1, 2023.[9] The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Florida Atlantic University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of North Texas, Rice University, and University of Texas at San Antonio will be joining as full members on July 1, 2023.[10][11] The American also has seven affiliate members: California State University, Sacramento, University of Florida, Florida International University, James Madison University, United States Naval Academy, Old Dominion University, and Vanderbilt University.

History

The Big East

Main article: Big East Conference (1979–2013)

The Big East Conference was founded in 1979 as a basketball conference and included the colleges of Providence, St. John's, Georgetown, and Syracuse, which in turn invited Connecticut (UConn), Holy Cross, Rutgers, and Boston College to be members.[12][13] UConn and Boston College would accept the invitation, while Holy Cross soon thereafter declined the invitation, and Rutgers eventually declined and remained in the Atlantic 10 Conference (then known as the Eastern 8 Conference). Seton Hall was then invited as a replacement and the conference started play with seven members.[13]

Villanova and Pittsburgh joined shortly thereafter under the leadership of the first Big East commissioner, Dave Gavitt.[14][15][16]

The conference remained largely unchanged until 1991, when it began to sponsor football, adding Miami as a full member, and Rutgers, Temple, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia as football-only members.[17] Rutgers and West Virginia were offered full all-sports membership in 1995, while Virginia Tech waited until 2000 for the same offer. Temple football was kicked out after the 2004 season, but rejoined in 2012 and intended to become a full member in 2013.

The unusual structure of the Big East, with the "football" and "non-football" schools, led to instability in the conference.[18] The waves of defection and replacement brought about by the conference realignments of 2005 and the early 2010s revealed tension between the football-sponsoring and non-football schools that eventually led to the split of the conference in 2013.[19]

Realignment and reorganization

American Athletic Conference is located in the United States
Blue pog.svg
– All-sports member
Red pog.svg
– All-sports member, departing
Green pog.svg
– All-sports member, arriving
Purple pog.svg
– Full, non-football member
Orange pog.svg
– Affiliate member (football)
Yellow pog.svg
– Affiliate member (other)

Further information: 2010–2014 NCAA conference realignment and 2010–13 Big East Conference realignment

The conference was reorganized following the tumultuous period of realignment that hobbled the Big East between 2010 and 2013. The Big East was one of the most severely impacted conferences during the most recent conference realignment period. In all, 14 member schools announced their departure for other conferences, and 15 other schools announced plans to join the conference (eight as all-sports members, and four for football only). Three of the latter group later backed out of their plans to join (one for all sports, and the other two for football only).

On December 15, 2012, the Big East's seven remaining non-FBS schools, all Catholic institutions consisting of DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, and Villanova announced that they voted unanimously to leave the Big East Conference effective June 30, 2015.[20][21] The "Catholic 7", by leaving, were looking for a more lucrative television deal than the one they would receive by remaining with the football schools.[22] In March 2013, representatives of the Catholic 7 announced they would leave the conference effective June 30, 2013, retaining the Big East name, $10 million, and the right to hold the conference's basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden.[3][23]

Following the announcement of the departure of the Catholic 7 universities, the remaining ten football-playing members started the process of selecting a new name for the conference and choosing a new site to hold its basketball tournament.[24][25] Various names were considered, with the "America 12" conference reportedly one of the finalists until rejected by college presidents sensitive of adding a number to the end of the conference name.[26] On April 3, 2013, the conference announced that it had chosen a new name: American Athletic Conference.[1] The conference also revealed that it prefers the nickname "The American" because it was thought "AAC" would cause too much confusion with the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).[27]

Louisville and Rutgers spent one season in the newly renamed conference. On July 1, 2014, Louisville joined the ACC[28] and Rutgers joined the Big Ten Conference.[29] On that same day, East Carolina, Tulane, and Tulsa joined The American for all sports, while Sacramento State and San Diego State joined as affiliate members for women's rowing.[30][31] Navy joined as an affiliate member in football on July 1, 2015.[30]

Addition of Wichita State

For the next several years, The American did not discuss the addition of any new members. However, in March 2017, media reports indicated that the conference was seriously considering adding one or more new members specifically as basketball upgrades. Wichita State, Dayton, and VCU were reportedly considered, with Wichita State being seen as the strongest candidate.[32] By the end of that month, it was reported that talks between the American and Wichita State had advanced to the point that the two sides were discussing a timeline for membership, with the possibility of the Shockers joining as a full but non-football member as early as the 2017–18 school year. The report indicated that a final decision would be made in April.[33][34][35] The conference's board of directors voted unanimously on April 7 to add Wichita State effective in July 2017, making the Shockers the league's first full non-football member since the Big East split.[36]

Departure of Connecticut

On June 21, 2019, a Boston-area sports news website, Digital Sports Desk, revealed that UConn was expected to announce by the end of the month that it would leave the American for the Big East Conference in 2020.[37] The story was picked up by multiple national media outlets the next day. The main issue that reportedly had to be resolved prior to any official announcement was the future of UConn football, as the Big East does not sponsor that sport, and sources indicated that the American had no interest in retaining UConn as a football-only member. Reportedly, American Conference insiders were not surprised by UConn's prospective move, as that school had been vigorously opposed to that league's most recently announced television deal.[38][39]

National media believed that should UConn leave the American, the conference's likeliest response would be to bring in two new schools—one for football only and a second in non-football sports, similar to the American's sequential additions of Navy and Wichita State. The most likely prospects for football-only membership were seen as Army (currently an FBS independent, with most of its other sports in the Patriot League), and Air Force (currently an all-sports member of the Mountain West Conference). Any of several schools could potentially fill the non-football slot, with Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports considering VCU to be "the most logical target there." Thamel dismissed the prospect of the American adding a new all-sports member, saying "there's no obvious candidate who could add value in both basketball and football."[38][39]

On June 24, 2019, it was reported that the Big East had formally approved an invitation for UConn to join the conference.[40] On June 26, 2019, the UConn Board of Trustees accepted the invitation and they are expected to join the league for the 2020–2021 season.[41] On July 26, media reports indicated that UConn and The American had reached a buyout agreement that confirmed UConn's Big East arrival date as July 1, 2020, paying the American a $17 million exit fee.[42]

It was widely reported that UConn was "rejoining" the Big East, given that the Huskies would be reunited with many of the schools against which it played for three decades in the original Big East. Indeed, UConn was the last charter member of the old Big East still playing in The American.

Added stability

The American took a number of steps to stabilize the conference after the departure of UConn. The first move was the addition of Old Dominion University as an affiliate member in women's lacrosse for the 2020–21 season. Old Dominion was previously added to The American for women's rowing beginning in the 2018–19 season.[43]

The American moved their headquarters from Providence, Rhode Island to Irving, Texas. This was a planned move, to better centralize the conference offices with the member schools. Irving is in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, which is also home to the headquarters of the Big 12 Conference, College Football Playoff, and the National Football Foundation.[44] The conference also moved the men's basketball tournament to the region, to be played at the new Dickies Arena until 2022.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some member schools have eliminated sports due to budget constraints. The University of Cincinnati eliminated its men's soccer program[45] while East Carolina University canceled men and women's swimming and diving teams and tennis teams.[46] Women's rowing member San Diego State University dropped that sport effective with the end of the 2020–21 season.[47]

Big 12 raid and subsequent invitations to the conference

In late July 2021, founding Big 12 members Oklahoma and Texas jointly announced that they planned to leave the conference no later than 2025, and formally requested an invitation from the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Shortly thereafter, The American became a peripheral player in this saga when the Big 12 sent a cease and desist letter to current broadcast partner ESPN, charging the network with conspiring to damage the league by luring Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC, and also alleging that the network encouraged an unnamed conference to raid the Big 12 to pave the way for an earlier departure by Oklahoma and Texas. A later media report identified that other conference as The American. ESPN issued an official denial of the Big 12 charges, and officials from The American declined to comment.[48][49]

On September 3, Sports Illustrated reported that the Big 12 Conference was on the verge of inviting four schools— including American Conference members Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF.[50][51] Later that month, all three schools received and accepted membership offers on the date of the presidents' meeting, with the official announcement stating only that they would join the Big 12 no later than 2024–25.[52] On June 10, 2022, The American and the three departing schools announced a buyout agreement had been reached, confirming those schools' 2023 departure date.[53] At the time, it was possible that Cincinnati and UCF could remain in the conference as affiliate members for women's lacrosse and men's soccer, respectively, as the Big 12 does not sponsor those sports, though no formal announcement has been made. UCF would later accept an offer of men's soccer membership from the Sun Belt Conference effective in 2023, aligning its men's soccer program with that of West Virginia, the only pre-2023 Big 12 member sponsoring men's soccer.

Subsequent moves

In late September 2021, several national media outlets reported that Mountain West Conference (MW) members Air Force and Colorado State had approached The American regarding a possible move to that league.[54] However, on October 1, the MW announced that its current membership would remain intact for the foreseeable future, removing its 12 football members (including football-only member Hawaiʻi) from the list of potential new members for The American. For its part, The American officially denied extending invitations to the two Colorado schools.[55]

Later that month on October 18, 2021, Yahoo! Sports reported that The American was preparing to receive applications from six of the 14 members of Conference USACharlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB, and UTSA. This would make The American a 14-full-member conference.[56] The next day, ESPN reported that all six schools had submitted applications, and that each would receive a formal letter by the end of that week (October 22) detailing the terms of conference expansion.[57] All six schools were accepted on October 21,[10] and the conference confirmed their 2023 entry date on June 16, 2022.[11]

Expansion in men's soccer and women's swimming & diving

A series of further realignment moves centering on the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) led to The American's men's soccer league expanding earlier than planned. This sequence began in November 2021 when James Madison announced its departure from the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) to join the SBC in 2023.[58] The CAA responded by invoking a provision of its bylaws to ban JMU from further conference championship events.[a] The SBC responded by pushing JMU's entry forward to 2022.[59]

Soon after this, the other three C-USA members set to move to the SBC in 2023 (Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss, with Marshall and ODU sponsoring men's soccer) announced that they would instead leave in 2022. Following a brief legal dispute, C-USA and the three schools reached a settlement that allowed those schools to join the SBC in 2022.[60] With three men's soccer schools now joining in 2022 instead of 2023, the SBC announced it would reinstate men's soccer at that time. The new full members were joined by three full SBC member and three new associate members. Coastal Carolina, played the 2021 season in C-USA. The other two full SBC members, Georgia Southern and Georgia State played the MAC. The new associates were Kentucky and South Carolina, which had been single-sport C-USA members since 2005; and West Virginia, which had previously announced that it would move men's soccer from the Mid-American Conference to C-USA in 2022.[61][62]

C-USA was then left with only four men's soccer programs for 2022 (Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, and UAB), with all but FIU set to become full American members in 2023. The American accordingly brought all four schools as new men's soccer members for 2022, with FIU remaining an affiliate after the others fully join The American.[63]

Similar changes came to women's swimming & diving, again due in part to SBC expansion. Of the schools leaving C-USA for the SBC in 2022, Marshall and Old Dominion sponsor that sport, and incoming American members Florida Atlantic, North Texas, and Rice also sponsor the sport (although Rice fields swimmers only, with no divers). The American brought the aforementioned future full members, plus FIU, into its women's swimming & diving league. As with men's soccer, FIU will remain a women's swimming & diving affiliate after the other schools fully join The American.[63]

  1. ^ Although the 2021 football season was then ongoing, James Madison remained eligible for, and ultimately shared, that season's CAA football title. The CAA football league, officially known as CAA Football, is a separate legal entity from the all-sports CAA, and the CAA Football bylaws lacked said provision.

Commissioners

Name Term
Michael Aresco 2013–present[8]

Membership timeline

Further information on members of the old Big East: Big East Conference (1979–2013) § Membership timeline

FIU PanthersJames Madison DukesVanderbilt CommodoresOld Dominion Monarchs and Lady MonarchsFlorida GatorsSacramento State HornetsSan Diego State AztecsVillanova WildcatsConference USAUTSA RoadrunnersConference USAUAB BlazersConference USARice OwlsConference USANorth Texas Mean GreenConference USAFlorida Atlantic OwlsConference USACharlotte 49ersMissouri Valley ConferenceWichita State ShockersNCAA Division I FBS independent schoolsNavy MidshipmenConference USATulsa Golden HurricaneConference USATulane Green WaveConference USAEast Carolina PiratesTemple OwlsSouth Florida BullsSMU MustangsMemphis TigersBig 12 ConferenceUCF KnightsBig 12 ConferenceHouston CougarsBig 12 ConferenceCincinnati BearcatsNCAA Division I FBS independent schoolsBig East ConferenceConnecticut HuskiesBig Ten ConferenceRutgers Scarlet KnightsAtlantic Coast ConferenceLouisville Cardinals

Full members (all-sports) Full members (non-football) Affiliate members (football-only) Affiliate member (other sport)Other Conference Other Conference

Member universities

Further information on members of the old Big East: Big East Conference (1979–2013) § Member institutions

The conference currently has 11 full member institutions – and six affiliate members – in 12 states, including California, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The newest full member, Wichita State is the only one that does not sponsor football.

Departing members are highlighted in red.

Current members

Institution Location Founded Joined Type Enrollment Endowment
(millions)
Nickname Colors
University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida 1963 2013 Public 68,571[64] $201 Knights    
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio 1819 2013 Public 45,949[65] $1,453 Bearcats    
East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina 1907 2014 Public 28,718[66] $288 Pirates    
University of Houston Houston, Texas 1927 2013 Public 47,090[67] $960 Cougars    
University of Memphis Memphis, Tennessee 1912 2013 Public 21,458[68] $223 Tigers    
University of South Florida Tampa, Florida 1956 2013 Public 50,830[69] $889 Bulls    
Southern Methodist University Dallas, Texas 1911 2013 Private 11,649[70] $2,000 Mustangs    
Temple University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1884 2013 State related 37,365[71] $873 Owls    
Tulane University New Orleans, Louisiana 1834 2014 Private 11,722[72] $1,430 Green Wave    
University of Tulsa Tulsa, Oklahoma 1894 2014 Private 3,343[73] $1,114 Golden Hurricane      
Wichita State University[a] Wichita, Kansas 1895 2017 Public 15,778[74] $276 Shockers    
Notes
  1. ^ Non-football member.

Affiliate members

Institution Location Founded Joined Type Enrollment Nickname Colors AAC
sport
Primary
conference
University of Florida Gainesville, Florida 1853 2018 Public 51,474 Gators     Women's lacrosse SEC
University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, Alabama 1969 2022 21,923[75] Blazers     Men's soccer C-USA
(The American in 2023)
Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, Florida 1961 [76] 29,772[77] Owls     Men's soccer
Women's Swimming & Diving
Florida International University Westchester, Florida 1965 58,064[78] Panthers     C-USA
James Madison University Harrisonburg, Virginia 1908 21,496 Dukes     Women's lacrosse Sun Belt
University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, North Carolina 1946 [79] 30,146[80] 49ers     Men's soccer C-USA
(The American in 2023)
United States Naval Academy Annapolis, Maryland 1845 2015 Military
academy
4,400 Midshipmen     Football Patriot
University of North Texas Denton, Texas 1890 [81] 2022 Public 42,375[82] Mean Green     Women's Swimming & Diving C-USA
(The American in 2023)
Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia 1930 2018 (rowing)
2020 (lacrosse)
24,375 Monarchs       Women's rowing
Women's lacrosse
Sun Belt
Rice University Houston, Texas 1912 [83] 2022 Private 7,124[84] Owls     Women's Swimming[a] C-USA
(The American in 2023)
California State University, Sacramento Sacramento, California 1947 2015 Public 28,811 Hornets     Women's rowing Big Sky
Vanderbilt University Nashville, Tennessee 1873 2018 Private 12,686 Commodores     Women's lacrosse SEC


Future full members

Institution Location Founded Joining Type Enrollment Endowment
(millions)[85]
Nickname Colors Current
conference
University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, Alabama 1969[86] 2023[11] Public 21,923[75] $712 Blazers     C-USA
Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, Florida 1961 [76] 29,772[77] $227 Owls    
University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, North Carolina 1946 [79] 30,146[80] $230 49ers    
University of North Texas Denton, Texas 1890 [81] 42,375[82] $211 Mean Green    
Rice University Houston, Texas 1912 [83] Private 7,124[84] $6,480 Owls    
University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, Texas 1969 [87] Public 34,734[88] $181 Roadrunners      

Former full members

Three full members have departed from the conference.

Institution Location Founded Joined Left Type Nickname Colors Current
conference
Rutgers University New Brunswick, New Jersey 1766 2013 2014 Public Scarlet Knights   Big Ten
University of Louisville Louisville, Kentucky 1798 2013 Cardinals     ACC
University of Connecticut Storrs, Connecticut 1881 2013 2020 Huskies     Big East
FBS Independent (football)

Former affiliate members

Two affiliate members have left the conference.

Institution Location Founded Joined Left Nickname Colors AAC
sport
Primary
conference
Conference
in former
AAC sport
San Diego State University San Diego, California 1897 2015 2021 Aztecs     Women's rowing Mountain West N/A[b]
Villanova University Villanova, Pennsylvania 1842 2013 2015 Wildcats     Women's rowing Big East CAA
Notes
  1. ^ Rice's women's aquatics program includes swimmers, but no divers.
  2. ^ San Diego State no longer sponsors women's rowing.

Sports

The American currently sponsors championship competition in 10 men's and 12 women's NCAA sanctioned sports. Old Dominion and Sacramento State are affiliate members for women's rowing.[89] Florida, Old Dominion, Vanderbilt, and James Madison are affiliate members for women's lacrosse.[90][91][92] South Florida and Charlotte will add women's lacrosse teams in the 2024–25 school year.[93][94]

Under NCAA rules reflecting the large number of male scholarship participants in football and attempting to address gender equity concerns (see also Title IX), each member institution is required to provide more women's varsity sports than men's.[note 4]

Sport Men's Women's
Baseball
8
Basketball
11
11
Cross Country
9
11
Football
11
Golf
9
10
Lacrosse
7[a]
Rowing
6
Soccer
10
9
Softball
7
Swimming & Diving
2
5
Tennis
8
11
Track and Field (Indoor)
7
11
Track and Field (Outdoor)
8
11
Volleyball
11
  1. ^ South Florida and Charlotte will add the sport in the 2025 season.

Men's sponsored sports by school

Departing members are highlighted in red.

School Baseball Basketball Cross
Country
Football Golf Soccer Swimming
& Diving
Tennis Track & Field
(Indoor)
Track & Field
(Outdoor)
Total
Cincinnati Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN[a] Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY 8
East Carolina Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN[b] Red XN[c] Green tickY Green tickY 7
Houston Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY 7
Memphis Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 9
South Florida Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 9
SMU Red XN Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN 6
Temple Red XN[d] Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Red XN[e] Red XN[f] 6
Tulane Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Red XN Green tickY 6
Tulsa Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN[g] Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 7
UCF Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN 6
Wichita State Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 7
Affiliate member
Charlotte[h] Green tickY 1
FIU[i] Green tickY 1
Florida Atlantic[h] Green tickY 1
Navy[j] Green tickY 1
UAB[h] Green tickY 1
Totals 8 11 9 11 9 10 2 8 7 8 83
Future members
Charlotte Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY[k] Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 9
Florida Atlantic Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY[k] Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN 8
North Texas Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY 6
Rice Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 8
UAB Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY[k] Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN 6
UTSA Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 8
2023–24 Total 10 14 12 14 12 9 2 12 9 10 104

Men's varsity sports not sponsored by The American which are played by conference schools:

School Sport Conference
Memphis Rifle[l] GARC
Temple Rowing[m] Independent
  1. ^ Cincinnati sponsored a men's soccer team until the 2019–20 season but discontinued the program after that year.[95]
  2. ^ ECU sponsored a men's swimming and diving team until the 2019–20 season but discontinued the program after that year.[96]
  3. ^ ECU sponsored a men's tennis team until the 2019–20 season but discontinued the program after that year.[96]
  4. ^ Temple sponsored a baseball team during the 2014 season but discontinued the program after that year.[97]
  5. ^ Temple sponsored an indoor track and field team during the 2014 season but discontinued the program after that year.[97]
  6. ^ Temple sponsored an outdoor track and field team during the 2014 season but discontinued the program after that year.[97]
  7. ^ Tulsa sponsored a men's golf team until the 2015–16 season but discontinued the program after that year.[98]
  8. ^ a b c Full member in 2023–24
  9. ^ FIU continues to field most of its other sports in the NCAA Division I Conference USA.
  10. ^ Navy continues to field most of its other sports in the NCAA Division I Patriot League.
  11. ^ a b c Joined in 2022–23
  12. ^ Rifle is technically a men's sport, but men's, women's, and coed teams all compete against each other. Memphis fields a coed team, making it the only current or future American Conference member whose rifle team is open to men.
  13. ^ The only category of rowing that the NCAA governs is women's heavyweight rowing. All men's rowing is governed by the Intercollegiate Rowing Association.

Women's sponsored sports by school

Departing members are highlighted in red.

School Basketball Cross
Country
Golf Lacrosse Rowing Soccer Softball Swimming
& Diving
Tennis Track & Field
(Indoor)
Track & Field
(Outdoor)
Volleyball Total
Cincinnati Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 10
East Carolina Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY[a] Green tickY[b] Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 11
Houston Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 10
Memphis Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 9
South Florida Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN[c] Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 9
SMU Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 10
Temple Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN[d] Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 9
Tulane Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 8
Tulsa Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 10
UCF Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 10
Wichita State Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 8
Affiliate members
FIU Green tickY 1
Florida Green tickY 1
Florida Atlantic[e] Green tickY Green tickY 1
James Madison Green tickY 1
North Texas[e] Green tickY 1
Old Dominion Green tickY Green tickY 2
Rice[f] Green tickY[g] 1
Sacramento State Green tickY 1
Vanderbilt Green tickY 1
Totals 11 11 10 7 6 9 7 9 11 11 11 11 112
Future members
Charlotte Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN[h] Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 9
Florida Atlantic Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY[f] Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 10
North Texas Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY[f] Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 10
Rice Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Red XN Green tickY Red XN Green tickY[f][g] Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 8
UAB Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 9
UTSA Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY 9
2023–24 Total 14 14 12 6[i] 5 12 10 7 14 14 14 14 137

Women's varsity sports not sponsored by The American which are played by conference schools:
Future members in gray.

School Sport(s) Conference(s)
Florida Atlantic Beach volleyball C-USA[j]
Memphis Rifle[k] GARC
South Florida Sailing SAISA
Beach volleyball (beginning in 2024–25) TBD
SMU Equestrian[l] Independent
Temple Fencing NIWFA
Field hockey Big East
Gymnastics EAGL
Tulane Beach volleyball CCSA
Bowling Southland
UAB Beach volleyball C-USA
Bowling MEAC
Rifle[m] SoCon
  1. ^ ECU's women's swimming and diving team was discontinued after the 2019–20 season, but will return for 2021–22 after not fielding a team in the 2020–21 season[99]
  2. ^ ECU's women's tennis team was discontinued after the 2019–20 season, but will return for 2021–22 after not fielding a team in the 2020–21 season[99]
  3. ^ South Florida will add a women's lacrosse team beginning in the 2024–25 school year
  4. ^ Temple sponsored a softball team during the 2014 season but discontinued the program after that year.[97]
  5. ^ a b Full members in 2023–24
  6. ^ a b c d Joined in 2022–23
  7. ^ a b Rice fields a women's team in swimming but not in diving.
  8. ^ Charlotte will add a women's lacrosse team beginning in the 2024–25 school year
  9. ^ Though one current lacrosse member (Cincinnati) is leaving and none of the new full members sponsor lacrosse, James Madison is joining as a single-sport member starting with the spring 2023 season, and full member South Florida is adding a lacrosse team for the spring 2025 season. It is possible that Cincinnati would remain in the American as an associate member for women's lacrosse after leaving the conference because the Big 12 does not sponsor the sport, which would give the AAC 7 women's lacrosse members in 2023–24 instead of 6. Charlotte will also be adding a women's lacrosse team beginning in the 2025 season, which means there will be 8 members in 2024–25 (or 9 if Cincinnati remains as an affiliate member).
  10. ^ Florida Atlantic's future beach volleyball affiliation has not yet been determined.
  11. ^ Rifle is technically a men's sport, but men's, women's, and coed teams all compete against each other. Memphis fields a coed team.
  12. ^ Part of the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program.
  13. ^ Rifle is technically a men's sport, but men's, women's, and coed teams all compete against each other. UAB fields a coed team.

Conference champions

Main article: List of American Athletic Conference champions

Note: Shared titles (ex: 2014 football, 2020 men's basketball) are counted as a full title for each co-champion.

Accurate as of May 9, 2022.

School Years in conference Number of titles Titles by sport Sports played
Houston 2013–2024 37 Baseball: 4 (2 regular season, 2 tournament)
Men's basketball: 5 (3 regular season, 2 tournament)
Football: 1
Women's golf: 3
Women's swimming & diving: 6
Men's track & field: 13 (7 indoor, 6 outdoor)
Women's track & field: 4 (2 indoor, 2 outdoor)
Volleyball: 1 (1 regular season, 0 tournament)
17:
Baseball
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Men's cross country
Women's cross country
Football
Men's golf
Women's golf
Women's soccer
Softball
Women's swimming and diving
Women's tennis
Men's indoor track and field
Men's outdoor track and field
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
UCF 2013–2024 37 Baseball: 1 (1 regular season, 0 tournament)
Women's basketball: 2 (1 regular season, 1 tournament)
Football: 4
Women's golf: 3
Women's rowing: 5
Men's soccer: 4 (3 regular season, 1 tournament)
Women's soccer: 3 (2 regular season, 1 tournament)
Softball: 4 (3 regular season, 1 tournament)
Men's tennis: 1
Women's tennis: 2
Women's track & field: 2 (2 indoor, 0 outdoor)
Volleyball: 6 (3 regular season, 3 tournament)
16:
Baseball
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Women's cross country
Football
Men's golf
Women's golf
Women's rowing
Men's soccer
Women's soccer
Softball
Men's tennis
Women's tennis
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
South Florida 2013–present 26 Baseball: 1 (0 regular season, 1 tournament)
Women's basketball: 2 (1 regular season, 1 tournament)
Men's golf: 5
Men's soccer: 2 (1 regular season, 1 tournament)
Women's soccer: 6 (3 regular season, 3 tournament)
Softball: 3 (3 regular season, 0 tournament)
Men's tennis: 5
Women's tennis: 2
18:
Baseball
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Men's cross country
Women's cross country
Football
Men's golf
Women's golf
Men's soccer
Women's soccer
Softball
Men's tennis
Women's tennis
Men's indoor track and field
Men's outdoor track and field
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
Tulsa 2014–present 26 Men's basketball: 1 (1 regular season, 0 tournament)
Men's cross country: 8
Women's cross country: 5
Men's soccer: 5 (1 regular season, 4 tournament)
Softball: 4 (1 regular season, 3 tournament)
Women's tennis: 3
17:[a]
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Men's cross country
Women's cross country
Football
Men's golf (until 2015–16)
Women's golf
Women's rowing
Men's soccer
Women's soccer
Softball
Men's tennis
Women's tennis
Men's indoor track and field
Men's outdoor track and field
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
SMU 2013–present 25 Men's basketball: 4 (2 regular season, 2 tournament)
Women's cross country: 2
Men's golf: 2
Women's rowing: 1
Men's soccer: 5 (2 regular season, 3 tournament)
Women's soccer: 1 (1 regular season, 0 tournament)
Men's swimming & diving: 2
Women's swimming & diving: 2
Men's tennis: 1
Women's track & field: 3 (1 indoor, 2 outdoor)
Volleyball: 2 (2 regular season, 0 tournament)
16:
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Women's cross country
Football
Men's golf
Women's golf
Women's rowing
Men's soccer
Women's soccer
Men's swimming and diving
Women's swimming and diving
Men's tennis
Women's tennis
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
UConn† 2013–2020 25 Baseball: 1 (0 regular season, 1 tournament)
Men's basketball: 1 (0 regular season, 1 tournament)
Women's basketball: 14 (7 regular season, 7 tournament)
Women's cross country: 1
Men's soccer: 1 (1 regular season, 0 tournament)
Women's soccer: 3 (1 regular season, 2 tournament)
Men's track & field: 2 (1 indoor, 1 outdoor)
Women's track & field: 2 (2 indoor, 0 outdoor)
21:[b]
Baseball
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Men's cross country
Women's cross country
Football
Men's golf
Women's lacrosse (beginning in 2018–19)
Women's rowing
Men's soccer
Women's soccer
Softball
Men's swimming and diving
Women's swimming and diving
Men's tennis
Women's tennis
Men's indoor track and field
Men's outdoor track and field
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
Cincinnati 2013–2024 16 Baseball: 1 (0 regular season, 1 tournament)
Men's basketball: 5 (3 regular season, 2 tournament)
Football: 3
Women's soccer: 1 (0 regular season, 1 tournament)
Men's swimming & diving: 2
Women's track & field: 3 (1 indoor, 2 outdoor)
Volleyball: 1 (1 regular season, 0 tournament)
18:[c]
Baseball
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Men's cross country
Women's cross country
Football
Men's golf
Women's golf
Women's lacrosse (beginning in 2018–19)
Men's soccer (until 2019–20)
Women's soccer
Men's swimming and diving
Women's swimming and diving
Women's tennis
Men's indoor track and field
Men's outdoor track and field
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
Louisville† 2017–present 9* Baseball: 1 (1 regular season, 0 tournament)
Men's basketball: 2 (1 regular season, 1 tournament), vacated
Men's cross country: 1
Women's golf: 1
Women's rowing: 1
Men's soccer: 1 (1 regular season, 0 tournament)
Softball: 1 (0 regular season, 1 tournament)
Men's swimming & diving: 1
Women's swimming & diving: 1
Volleyball: 1 (1 regular season, 0 tournament)
21:
Baseball
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Men's cross country
Women's cross country
Football
Men's golf
Women's golf
Women's rowing
Men's soccer
Women's soccer
Softball
Men's swimming and diving
Women's swimming and diving
Men's tennis
Women's tennis
Men's indoor track and field
Men's outdoor track and field
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
East Carolina 2014–present 8 Baseball: 4 (2 regular season, 2 tournament)
Men's swimming & diving: 4
18:[d]
Baseball
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Men's cross country
Women's cross country
Football
Men's golf
Women's golf
Women's lacrosse (beginning in 2018–19)
Women's soccer
Softball
Men's swimming and diving (until 2019–20)
Women's swimming and diving (on hiatus in 2020–21)
Men's tennis (until 2019–20)
Women's tennis (on hiatus in 2020–21)
Men's indoor track and field
Men's outdoor track and field
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
Memphis 2013–present 7 Football: 2
Men's golf: 1
Women's soccer: 3 (1 regular season, 2 tournament)
Women's tennis: 1
18:
Baseball
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Men's cross country
Women's cross country
Football
Men's golf
Women's golf
Men's soccer
Women's soccer
Softball
Men's tennis
Women's tennis
Men's indoor track and field
Men's outdoor track and field
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
Florida‡ 2018–present 6 Women's lacrosse: 6 (3 regular season, 3 tournament) 1:
Women's lacrosse
Wichita State 2017–present 6 Men's basketball: 1 (1 regular season, 0 tournament)
Women's cross country: 1
Softball: 2 (1 regular season, 1 tournament)
Women's track & field: 1 (0 indoor, 1 outdoor)
Volleyball: 1 (1 regular season, 0 tournament)
15:
Baseball
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Men's cross country
Women's cross country
Men's golf
Women's golf
Softball
Men's tennis
Women's tennis
Men's indoor track and field
Men's outdoor track and field
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
Tulane 2014–present 3 Baseball: 1 (1 regular season, 0 tournament)
Women's golf: 1
Men's tennis: 1
14:
Baseball
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Men's cross country
Women's cross country
Football
Women's golf
Women's swimming and diving
Men's tennis
Women's tennis
Men's outdoor track and field
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
Temple 2013–present 2 Men's basketball: 1 (1 regular season, 0 tournament)
Football: 1
15:[e]
Baseball (until 2013–14)
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Men's cross country
Women's cross country
Football
Men's golf
Women's lacrosse (beginning in 2018–19)
Women's rowing
Men's soccer
Women's soccer
Softball (until 2013–14)
Men's tennis
Women's tennis
Men's indoor track and field (until 2013–14)
Men's outdoor track and field (until 2013–14)
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
Navy‡ 2015–present 0 1:
Football
Old Dominion‡ 2018–present 0 2:[f]
Women's lacrosse
Women's rowing (beginning in 2020–21)
Sacramento State‡ 2015–present 0 1:
Women's rowing
Vanderbilt‡ 2018–present 0 1:
Women's lacrosse
Rutgers† 2013–2014 0 19:
Baseball
Men's basketball
Women's basketball
Men's cross country
Women's cross country
Football
Men's golf
Women's golf
Women's rowing
Men's soccer
Women's soccer
Softball
Women's swimming and diving
Women's tennis
Men's indoor track and field
Men's outdoor track and field
Women's indoor track and field
Women's outdoor track and field
Volleyball
San Diego State†‡ 2015–2021 0 1:
Women's rowing
Villanova†‡ 2013–2015 0 1
Women's rowing

*- Does not include vacated championships

†- No longer a member of the AAC

‡- Affiliate member

  1. ^ Tulsa had 18 teams compete in AAC play from 2014–16 and 17 in all other years
  2. ^ UConn had 20 teams compete in AAC play from 2013–18 and 21 in all other years
  3. ^ Cincinnati had 19 teams compete in AAC play from 2018–20 and 18 in all other years
  4. ^ ECU had 19 teams compete in AAC play from 2014–18, 20 from 2018–20, 16 in 2020–21, and 18 in all other years
  5. ^ Temple had 17 teams compete in AAC play in 2013–14, 14 from 2014–18, and 15 in all other years
  6. ^ Old Dominion had 1 team compete in AAC play from 2018–20 and 2 in all other years

[100]

NCAA national championships

See also: List of NCAA schools with the most NCAA Division I championships and List of NCAA schools with the most Division I national championships

No current American Conference member has won an NCAA team championship while a member of the conference. The only school to have won a national title while in The American, UConn, left for the Big East Conference in 2020. Several members have won national titles before joining The American.

Excluded from these lists are all national championships earned outside the scope of NCAA competition, including Division I FBS football titles, Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association titles, women's AIAW titles, National Collegiate Equestrian Association titles, retroactive Helms Athletic Foundation titles, and ITA tennis titles.

Team championships won by current members

School Total Men Women Co-ed Nickname Most successful sport (Titles)
University of Houston 17 17 0 0 Cougars Men's golf (16)
Southern Methodist University (SMU) 4 4 0 0 Mustangs Men's outdoor track & field (2)
Temple University 3 1 2 0 Owls Women's lacrosse (2)
University of Cincinnati 2 2 0 0 Bearcats Men's basketball (2)
University of South Florida 1 0 1 0 Bulls Women's swimming (1)
Tulane University 1 1 0 0 Green Wave Men's tennis (1)
University of Tulsa 1 0 1 0 Golden Hurricane Women's golf (1)
Wichita State University 1 1 0 0 Shockers Baseball (1)
University of Central Florida (UCF) 0 0 0 0 Knights N/A
University of Memphis 0 0 0 0 Tigers N/A
East Carolina University 0 0 0 0 Pirates N/A
Total 30 26 4 0

[101]

Team championships won as American Conference members

Includes all titles won while a member of The American, whether or not the conference sponsored that sport at the time.

School Total Men Women Co-ed Nickname Most successful sport (Titles)
University of Connecticut (UConn) 7 1 6 0 Huskies Women's basketball, field hockey (3 each)
Total 7 1 6 0

Individual and relay championships by current members

School Total Men Women Co-ed Nickname Most successful sport (Titles)
Southern Methodist University 122 77 45 0 Mustangs Women's swimming (29)
University of Houston 65 48 17 0 Cougars Men's outdoor track & field (21)
University of South Florida 21 9 10 2[a] Bulls Women's swimming (10)
Temple University 17 17 0 0 Owls Men's gymnastics (13)
Tulane University 14 14 0 0 Green Wave Men's tennis (10)
University of Cincinnati 6 4 2 0 Bearcats Men's swimming (3)
University of Memphis 6 5 0 1[b] Tigers Men's outdoor track & field (3)
East Carolina University 4 4 0 0 Pirates Men's swimming (4)
Wichita State University 3 3 0 0 Shockers Men's outdoor track & field (2)
University of Tulsa 2 1 1 0 Golden Hurricane Women's golf (1), Men's indoor track & field (1)
University of Central Florida 1 0 1 0 Knights Women's indoor track & field (1)
Total 256 182 71 3
  1. ^ Both won by Michelle Scarborough in rifle. While Scarborough is a woman, rifle is considered a co-ed sport by the NCAA.
  2. ^ Won by Beth Tidmore in rifle. While Tidmore is a woman, rifle is considered a co-ed sport by the NCAA.

[101]

Football

See also: Bowl Championship Series and College Football Playoff

The conference began football during the 1991–92 season, and was a founding member of the Bowl Championship Series.[102] Previously, conference opponents operated on a two-year cycle, as a home-and-home series.[103]

The conference previously did not have enough teams to form divisions, but now does after Navy joined the conference in 2015.[note 5] When Navy joined in 2015 and divisions were created, Navy was placed in the West division along with Houston, Memphis, SMU, Tulane, and Tulsa. Teams play eight conference games a season. Since 2015, each team has played the other five teams in its own division, as well as three teams from the other division, operating in a four-year cycle ensuring that each school will play every conference opponent at home and on the road at least once in the four-year cycle.[104] The East and West division winners, determined by final conference record, meet in the American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game, which is played at the home site of one of the division winners.

With the departure of UConn after the 2019 season, divisions were affected by the reduction to an uneven number of teams. At the time, The American had no plan to add another team to rebalance divisions, so divisions were eliminated from the conference for the time being. The championship game is now played by the two teams that achieved the best record in regular season conference play. With the upcoming expansion of the conference to 14 members, a divisional split is now all but certain once all new members join.

Like the conference itself, football experienced much transition through its history – in fact it was the main force behind such departures and expansion. In 2003, the BCS announced that it would adjust the automatic bids granted to its six founding conferences based on results from 2004 to 2007. With the addition of Cincinnati, Louisville, and South Florida in 2005, the conference retained its BCS automatic-qualifying status. In 2007, South Florida rose to No. 2 in the BCS rankings, but finished No. 21 in the final poll. Cincinnati finished the 2009 regular season undefeated at 12–0, and ranked No. 3 in the final BCS standings, barely missing the opportunity to play for the BCS National Championship. The conference was 9–7 (.563) in BCS bowl games, the third highest winning percentage among the AQ conferences. After the 2017 season, the University of Central Florida Knights, a member of the American, went undefeated but were not invited to the College Football Playoff. They earned the Group of Five's New Year's Six bowl bid and defeated Auburn in the Peach Bowl. They would claim a national championship, which was recognized by the Colley Matrix, one of the NCAA recognized selectors of the national champion in football.

In 2021, Cincinnati became the first Group of Five team ever to appear in the top four of the CFP rankings at any point of the season, going on to become the first G5 team ever selected for the CFP semifinals.

All-time school and conference records

As of the conclusion of the 2021 season.[citation needed] Conference wins and losses are since the formation of The American.[clarification needed]

Team Overall Conference Bowl
Appearances
The American
Championships
W L T Win % W L Win %
South Florida 157 119 0 .569 29 27 .518 10 0
Navy 720 570 57 .556 27 13 .675 24 0
Tulsa 623 506 27 .551 16 32 .333 21 0
UCF 259 212 1 .550 41 15 .732 10 4
Houston 445 374 15 .543 34 22 .607 27 1
Cincinnati 621 589 50 .513 33 24 .579 19 3
East Carolina 444 428 12 .509 13 35 .271 20 0
Memphis 502 518 33 .492 38 21 .644 13 2
SMU 504 550 54 .479 23 33 .411 17 0
Tulane 531 648 38 .452 15 33 .313 13 0
Temple 474 586 52 .450 35 21 .625 8 1

Football champions

Main article: American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game

Further information on football champions of the Big East Conference from 1991 to 2012: Big East Conference (1979–2013) § Champions

The American Championship Game pits the Eastern Division representative against the Western Division representative in a game held following the conclusion of the regular season. The site of the Championship Game is the home stadium of the division champion with the best overall conference record. In the event that the two division champions are tied, then the head-to-head record shall be used as the tiebreaker. Prior to the 2015 season, when the conference split into two six-team divisions and created a conference championship game, The American awarded its championship to the team(s) with the best overall conference record.

Record Ranking
Year Champions Conference Overall AP Coaches Bowl result Head coach
2013 UCF 8–0 12–1 #10 #12 W Fiesta Bowl 52–42 vs. Baylor George O'Leary
2014 UCF 7–1 9–4 N/A N/A L St. Petersburg Bowl 27–34 vs. NC State George O'Leary
Cincinnati 7–1 9–4 N/A N/A L Military Bowl 17–33 vs. Virginia Tech Tommy Tuberville
Memphis 7–1 10–3 #25 #25 W Miami Beach Bowl 55–48 vs. BYU Justin Fuente
2015 Houston 7–1 13–1 #8 #8 W Peach Bowl 38–24 vs. Florida State Tom Herman
2016 Temple 7–1 10–3 #23 #24 L Military Bowl 26–34 vs. Wake Forest Matt Rhule
2017 UCF 8–0 13–0 #6 #7 W Peach Bowl 34–27 vs. Auburn Scott Frost
2018 UCF 8–0 12–1 #11 #12 L Fiesta Bowl 32–40 vs. LSU Josh Heupel
2019 Memphis 7–1 12–2 #17 #17 L Cotton Bowl 39–53 vs. Penn State Mike Norvell
2020 Cincinnati 6–0 9–1 #6 #6 L Peach Bowl 21–24 vs. Georgia Luke Fickell
2021 Cincinnati 8–0 13–1 #4 #4 L Cotton Bowl 6-27 vs. Alabama Luke Fickell

Rivalries

The American has many rivalries among its member schools, primarily in football. Some rivalries existed before the conference was established or began play in football. Recent conference realignment in 2005 and 2013 ended – or temporarily halted – many rivalries. Before their departure to other conferences, a number of former member schools held longtime rivalries within the conference.

Teams Rivalry Name Trophy Meetings Began Record Series leader Current Streak
Cincinnati–Memphis 37 1966 23–14–0 Memphis Cincinnati won 1
Houston–Tulsa 45 1950 26–19–0 Houston Houston won 3
Navy–SMU Gansz Trophy 23 1930 13–10–0 Navy SMU won 2
South Florida–UCF War on I-4 War on I-4 Trophy 13 2005 7–6–0 UCF UCF won 5

Records as of the end of the 2021 season.

Bowl games

Following the 2013 season, the BCS era came to a close and was replaced by the College Football Playoff. Four teams play in two semifinal games, with the winners advancing to the College Football Playoff National Championship.[105] Six bowl games — the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Peach Bowl — will rotate as hosts for the semifinal games, and host major bowls when they do not host semifinal games (access bowls).

With the birth of the College Football Playoff, The American lost its automatic qualifying status for one of the major bowls. Instead, one automatic qualifying spot is reserved for the highest ranked team from the "Group of Five" conferences – The American, Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, Mountain West Conference, and Sun Belt Conference.

Although the pick order usually corresponds to the conference standings, the bowls are not required to make their choices strictly according to the won-lost records; many factors influence bowl selections, especially the likely turnout of the team's fans. Picks are made after any applicable College Football Playoff selections. If a team is selected for the one of the access bowls or playoff, the bowl with the No. 2 pick will have the first pick of the remaining teams in the conference.

American Athletic Conference bowl games[106]
Year Name Location Opposing Conference
2020–25 Cotton, Peach, Fiesta, or Playoff[note 6] Arlington, Atlanta, Glendale, or Playoff Site CFP At-Large
2020-25 Fenway Bowl Boston, Massachusetts ACC
2020–25 Military Bowl Annapolis, Maryland ACC
2020/22/24 Hawaiʻi Bowl Honolulu, Hawaii MWC or BYU
2021/23/25 Armed Forces Bowl Fort Worth, Texas Big 12 or Army
2020–25 Cure Bowl Orlando, Florida Sun Belt
2020–25 Boca Raton Bowl Boca Raton, Florida MAC or C-USA
2020–25 Frisco Bowl Frisco, Texas C-USA, MAC, Sun Belt or BYU
2020–25 Birmingham Bowl Birmingham, Alabama SEC
2020–25 Gasparilla Bowl Tampa, Florida SEC
2020–25 First Responder Bowl Dallas, Texas TBD
2020–25 Myrtle Beach Bowl Conway, South Carolina C-USA, MAC or Sun Belt
2020–25 New Mexico Bowl Albuquerque, New Mexico TBD

Head football coach compensation

The total pay of head coaches includes university and non-university compensation. This includes base salary, income from contracts, foundation supplements, bonuses and media and radio pay.[107]

Conf.
Rank
University Head Coach Salary[107]
1 University of Houston Dana Holgorsen $3,610,000
2 University of Cincinnati Luke Fickell $3,272,500
3 United States Naval Academy Ken Niumatalolo $2,316,000
4 University of Central Florida Gus Malzahn $2,300,000
5 University of South Florida Jeff Scott $2,232,500
6 Temple University Rod Carey $2,050,916
7 Tulane University Willie Fritz $1,787,000
8 University of Memphis Ryan Silverfield $1,750,000
9 University of Tulsa Philip Montgomery $1,698,865
10 East Carolina University Mike Houston $1,478,462
11 Southern Methodist University Sonny Dykes $1,340,314

Records as of the end of the 2020 season.

Conference individual honors

Main article: American Athletic Conference football individual awards

Coaches and media of The American award individual honors at the end of each football season.[108]

Men's basketball

See also: American Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament

In June 2013, it was announced that the inaugural men's basketball tournament would take place at FedExForum in Memphis.[109] FedExForum had previously hosted eight Conference USA basketball tournaments.

Even though the Big East Conference was meant to be a basketball-oriented conference, UConn, a member of The American, won the 2014 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament (the first after the conferences split).

All-time school records by winning percentage

This list goes through the 2020–21 season.

No. Team Records Win Pct. The American
Tournament
Championships
The American
Regular Season
Championships
Final Fours National
Championships
1 Memphis 1,336–662 .669 0 0 3 0
2 Cincinnati 1,835–1026 .641 2 3 6 2
3 Temple 1,940–1,096 .639 0 1 2 1
4 Houston 1,331–865 .606 1 2 6 0
5 Wichita State 1,609–1,211 .571 0 1 2 0
6 Tulsa 1,471–1,168 .557 0 1 0 0
7 SMU 1,365–1,236 .525 2 2 1 0
8 UCF 543–536 .503 0 0 0 0
9 Tulane 1,231–1,317 .483 0 0 0 0
10 South Florida 637–757 .457 0 0 0 0
11 East Carolina 686–884 .437 0 0 0 0

Source[110]

American Athletic Conference Men's Basketball NCAA Bids

This list goes through the 2020–21 season. Only current American Conference members are included. However, this list covers the entire histories of basketball at the listed institutions, not just their American Conference tenures.

Total bids Bids as
AAC member[a]
School Last bid Last win Last Sweet 16 Last Elite 8 Last Final 4 Last final Last Championship (Titles)
33 6 Cincinnati 2019 2018 2012 1996 1992 1963 1962 (2)
33 2 Temple 2019 2013 2001 2001 1958 1938[b]
26* 1 Memphis 2014 2014 2009 2008 2008 2008[c]
22 3 Houston 2022 2022 2022 2022 2021 1984
16 1 Tulsa 2016 2003 2000 2000
16 2 Wichita State 2021 2017 2015 2013 2013
12 2 SMU 2017 1988 1967 1967 1956
5 1 UCF 2019 2019
3 0 South Florida 2012 2012
3 0 Tulane 1995 1995
2 0 East Carolina 1993
Total: 169 Total: 18[d] Total: 3 National Championship Titles[e]
  1. ^ Starting with the 2013–14 season, which The American considers as the start of its competitive history (as opposed to its institutional history), with the following exceptions:
    • East Carolina, Tulane, and Tulsa, whose first conference season was 2014–15.
    • Wichita State, whose first conference season was 2017–18.
  2. ^ Temple were the first NIT champions in 1938, one year before the inception of the NCAA Tournament. The Owls were retroactively recognized by the Premo-Porretta Power Poll and the Helms Athletic Foundation as the national champion for the 1937–38 season.[111]
  3. ^ Memphis has vacated all of its victories from the 2007–08 season. These 38 wins are not included in Memphis's all-time record.[112]
  4. ^ Does not include 2 tournament appearances by UConn while in The American.
  5. ^ Does not include UConn's 2014 national title as an American Conference member.

Men's basketball champions

Further information on men's basketball champions of the Big East Conference from 1980 to 2013: Big East men's basketball tournament

Regular Season Tournament
Year Champions Record AP Coaches' Postseason Champions Record AP Coaches' Postseason
2013–14[a] Louisville[b] 31–6 (15–3) #5 #9 NCAA Sweet Sixteen Louisvilledagger 31–6 #5 #9 NCAA Sweet Sixteen
Cincinnati 27–7 (15–3) #15 #22 NCAA second round
2014–15 SMU 27–7 (15–3) #18 RV NCAA first round SMU 27–7 #18 RV NCAA First Round
2015–16 Temple 21–12 (14–4) NR NR NCAA first round UConn 25–10 RV RV NCAA Second Round
2016–17 SMU 30–4 (17–1) #12 #15 NCAA first round SMU 30–4 #12 #15 NCAA First Round
2017–18 Cincinnati 30–4 (16–2) #6 #6 NCAA second round Cincinnati 30–4 #6 #8 NCAA Second Round
2018–19 Houston 33–4(16–2) #9 #11 NCAA Sweet Sixteen Cincinnati 28–7 #22 #24 NCAA First Round
2019–20 Cincinnati 20–10 (13–5) NR NR Canceled[c] Canceled[d]
Houston 23–8 (13–5) #22 #23
Tulsa 21–10 (13–5) NR NR
2020–21 Wichita State 16–6 (11–2) NR NR NCAA First Four Houston 28–4 #6 #3 NCAA Final Four
  1. ^ UConn, after being eliminated from the conference tournament, went on to become the national champions after beating Kentucky 60–54 in the title game.
  2. ^ After Louisville basketball staffer Andre McGee was found to have paid a local madam to provide strippers and prostitutes to players and recruits from 2010 through 2014, the NCAA ordered all Louisville records from the 2010–11 through 2013–14 seasons to be vacated.[113]
  3. ^ 2020 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  4. ^ 2020 American Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Rivalries

The American has many rivalries among its member schools, some of which existed before the conference was established. Recent conference realignment in 2005 and 2013 ended – or temporarily halted – many rivalries. Before their departure to other conferences, a number of former member schools held longtime rivalries within the conference.

Teams Rivalry Name Meetings Began Record Series leader Current Streak
Cincinnati–Memphis 82 1968 47–34 Cincinnati Memphis won 1
South Florida–UCF War on I–4 39 1972 24–17 South Florida UCF won 1
Houston–SMU 88 1956 55–33 Houston Houston won 2
Tulsa–Wichita State 132 1931 72–62 Wichita Wichita won 3

Results as of the 2020–21 season.

Women's basketball

See also: American Athletic Conference women's basketball tournament

In June 2013, it was announced that the inaugural women's basketball tournament would take place at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.[114] Women's basketball teams have played a total of 20 times in the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship (since 1982), with UConn winning 11 national championships under head coach Geno Auriemma since 1995. Women's national championship tournaments prior to 1982 were run by the AIAW.

All-time school records by winning percentage

This list goes through the 2016–17 season.[115]

No. Team Records Win Pct. The American
Tournament
Championships
The American
Regular Season
Championships
Final Fours National
Championships
1 Memphis 781–590[a] .570 0 0 0 0
2 Tulane 684–534 .562 0 0 0 0
3 Temple 806–653–3 .552 0 0 0 0
4 SMU 630–534 .541 0 0 0 0
5 East Carolina 705–600 .540 0 0 0 0
6 Houston 650–603 .519 0 0 0 0
7 Cincinnati 636–628 .503 0 0 0 0
8 South Florida 687–690 .499 1 1 0 0
9 UCF 546–611 .472 0 0 0 0
10 Wichita State 571–647[b] .469 0 0 0 0
11 Tulsa 326–544 .375 0 0 0 0
  1. ^ Record since the 1972–73 season, considered by Memphis to be the start of its "modern era" of women's basketball.
  2. ^ Record since the 1976–77 season, considered by Wichita State to be the start of its "modern era" of Division I women's basketball.

Women's basketball champions

Further information on women's basketball champions of the Big East Conference from 1983 to 2013: Big East women's basketball tournament

Regular Season Tournament
Year Champions Record AP Coaches' Postseason Champions Record AP Coaches' Postseason
2013–14 UConn 40–0 (18–0) #1 #1 NCAA Champion UConn 40–0 (18–0) #1 #1 NCAA Champion
2014–15 UConn 38–1 (18–0) #1 #1 NCAA Champion UConn 38–1 (18–0) #1 #1 NCAA Champion
2015–16 UConn 38–0 (18–0) #1 #1 NCAA Champion UConn 38–0 (18–0) #1 #1 NCAA Champion
2016–17 UConn 36–1 (16–0) #1 #1 Final Four UConn 36–1 (16–0) #1 #1 Final Four
2017–18 UConn 36–1 (16–0) #1 #1 Final Four UConn 36–1 (16–0) #1 #1 Final Four
2018–19 UConn 35–3 (16–0) #2 #2 Final Four UConn 35–3 (16–0) #2 #3 Final Four
2019–20 UConn 28–3 (16–0) #5 #6 Canceled[a] UConn 28–3 (16–0) #5 #6 Canceled
2020–21 South Florida 19–4 (13–2) #19 #18 round of 32 South Florida 19–4 (13–2) #19 #18 Round of 32
2021–22 UCF 26–4 (14–1) #24 #24 round of 32 UCF 26–4 (14–1) #24 #24 Round of 32

Facilities

Departing members in pink. Future members in gray.

Institution Football stadium Capacity Basketball arena Capacity Baseball stadium Capacity
Charlotte Jerry Richardson Stadium 15,300 Dale F. Halton Arena 9,105 Hayes Stadium 3,000
Cincinnati Nippert Stadium 40,000 Fifth Third Arena 12,012 UC Baseball Stadium 3,085
East Carolina Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium 50,000 Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum 8,000 Clark-LeClair Stadium 5,000
Florida Atlantic FAU Stadium 29,571 Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena 2,900 FAU Baseball Stadium 2,000
Houston TDECU Stadium 40,000 Fertitta Center 7,100 Cougar Field 5,000
Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium 59,308 FedExForum (men)
Elma Roane Fieldhouse (women)
18,119
2,565
FedExPark 2,000
North Texas Apogee Stadium 30,850 UNT Coliseum 10,032 Non-baseball school
Rice Rice Stadium 47,000 Tudor Fieldhouse 5,208 Reckling Park 7,000
South Florida Raymond James Stadium 65,908 Yuengling Center 10,411 USF Baseball Stadium 3,211
SMU Gerald J. Ford Stadium 32,000 Moody Coliseum 7,000 Non-baseball school
Temple Lincoln Financial Field 68,532 Liacouras Center
McGonigle Hall (women)[a]
10,206
3,900
Non-baseball school
Tulane Yulman Stadium 30,000 Devlin Fieldhouse 4,100 Turchin Stadium 5,000
Tulsa H. A. Chapman Stadium 30,000 Reynolds Center 8,355 Non-baseball school
UAB Protective Stadium 47,100 Bartow Arena 8,508 Regions Field
Young Memorial Field
8,500
1,000
UCF FBC Mortgage Stadium 44,206 Addition Financial Arena 9,465 John Euliano Park 3,900
UTSA Alamodome 64,000 Convocation Center 4,080 Roadrunner Field 800
Wichita State Non-football member[b] Charles Koch Arena 10,506 Eck Stadium 7,851
Navy Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium 34,000 Affiliate member
  1. ^ Temple splits its women's basketball schedule between McGonigle Hall and the Liacouras Center.
  2. ^ Wichita State discontinued its football program following the 1986 season. The Shockers' football facility, Cessna Stadium (capacity 30,000) still stands. It is the home of the Shockers' track and field program and hosts football games for Wichita's Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School.

Academics

One of the current full member schools, Tulane University, is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.[116] Seven members are doctorate-granting universities with "very high research activity," the highest classification given by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.[117] Member schools are also highly ranked nationally and globally by various groups, including U.S. News & World Report, Washington Monthly, and Times Higher Education.

University Location Affiliation Carnegie[117] Endowment (millions)[118] USN Nat.[119] WM Nat.[120] URAP U.S.[121]
University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida Public (SUSF) Research (VH) $135.5 160 211 114
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio Public (USO) Research (VH) $1,183.9 143 191 57
East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina Public (UNC) Doctoral $164.1 217 171 179
University of Houston Houston, Texas Public (UH System) Research (VH) $789.7 176 68 104
University of Memphis Memphis, Tennessee Public (THEC) Research (H) $200.8 258 37 188
University of South Florida Tampa, Florida Public (SUSF) Research (VH) $690.0 103 78 69
Southern Methodist University University Park, Texas Private (Methodist) Research (H) $2,000.0 66 260 164
Temple University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Public (CSHE) Research (VH) $386.8 103 195 108
Tulane University New Orleans, Louisiana Private (non-sectarian) Research (VH) $1,183.9 41 100 112
University of Tulsa Tulsa, Oklahoma Private (Presbyterian) Doctoral $1,015.5 143 164 297
Wichita State University Wichita, Kansas Public (KBOR) Doctoral $235.5 298-389 233 258

Media

In March 2019, the conference announced a $1 billion, 12-year media rights deal with ESPN, under which the majority of AAC content will be aired on ESPN properties. Selected basketball games and Navy football are sub-licensed to CBS Sports, as Navy had a previous deal with CBS prior to joining The American. Content not aired on linear television will be exclusive to ESPN's subscription package ESPN+, but a larger number of events (including at least 40 football games and 65 men's basketball games per-season, including the conference semi-finals and championship) will air on ABC and ESPN's linear networks than under the previous contract.[122][123][124]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The American is the legal successor to the Big East Conference (1979–2013) and retains its charter. The current Big East Conference purchased the "Big East" name during the 2013 conference breakup.
  2. ^ The American is the legal all-sports successor to the Big East Conference (1979–2013). The Big East was rebranded and reorganized as the American Athletic Conference on July 1, 2013.
  3. ^ The other conferences in the "Group of Five" are Conference USA (C-USA), the Mid-American Conference (MAC), the Mountain West Conference, and the Sun Belt Conference.
  4. ^ Under NCAA Bylaw 20.9.4, all Division I schools are required to sponsor a minimum of seven men's and seven women's sports, or six men's and eight women's sports. Bylaw 20.9.7.1 imposes the latter requirement on FBS schools. FCS schools, under Bylaw 20.9.8.1, may use either requirement. Note that this does not explicitly require that a school sponsor two more women's sports than men's sports. See "2012–13 NCAA Division I Manual" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  5. ^ At the time Navy joined in football, the NCAA required 12 teams for a conference to conduct divisional play and stage a championship game that was exempt from the NCAA-imposed limit of 12 regular-season games. Starting with the 2016 season, a conference can conduct an "exempt" championship game with fewer than 12 members, as long as it either plays in two divisions or conducts a full round-robin schedule.
  6. ^ If The American's champion is the highest ranked from among the "Group of Five" conferences, it will receive a bid to either the Cotton Bowl, the Peach Bowl, or the Fiesta Bowl. If the team is ranked in the top four at the end of the regular season, it will take part in the College Football Playoff.

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