GREENVILLE, N.C. — Don’t expect USF’s conference to find a replacement for UConn after the Huskies depart — at least for the foreseeable future.
The NCAA granted the AAC a waiver to continue playing a conference championship game without 12 members for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, and it doesn’t sound like the league is looking for a new team at the moment.
“There are only a handful of schools out there — and I’m not going to start getting into names — that I think would enhance the brand of this league,” AAC Commissioner Michael Aresco said to reporters before the USF-East Carolina game Saturday. “The last thing we need to do is water down the brand — take a school that really doesn’t fit what we’re trying to do.”
Aresco added that the conference could apply to extend the waiver after 2021, though he did not seem optimistic about that, or press for legislation to make the waiver permanent.
Without a waiver, the AAC would have to play a round-robin format to hold a title game, requiring each member to play each other every season, similar to the Big 12.
“The round robin was completely impractical for us because there was no way we were going to play 10 conference games,” Aresco said. “That would eliminate a lot of our nonconference games.”
UConn will leave the AAC at the end of the 2019-20 academic year.