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AAC announces expansion of six C-USA schools

With the addition of FAU, USF will not be the lone member of the conference in the state of Florida. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

The AAC officially announced Thursday the addition of six schools from C-USA to its ranks. The move expands the conference to 15 members overall with 14 being football-playing partners.

Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA were all approved by the other nine programs in the conference after submitting their applications to join Monday. 

Although it is still unclear as to when the new members will officially start, the expectation is they will start competing sometime in 2023, according to a tweet from The Action Network’s Brett McMurphy.

“This is a strategic expansion that accomplishes a number of goals as we take the conference into its second decade,” Commissioner Mike Aresco said via a press release Thursday. “We are adding excellent institutions that are established in major cities and have invested in competing at the highest level.

“We have enhanced geographical concentration which will especially help the conference’s men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports teams. And we will continue to provide valuable inventory to our major media rights partner, ESPN, which will feature our members on the most prominent platforms in sports media.”

While UAB and FAU have been the class of C-USA over the last several seasons, winning the last four conference titles, programs like UTSA, currently ranked No. 24 in the AP Poll, are on the rise and will potentially bring some value to the conference.

The expansion is the latest in a trend of conference realignment that has been taking place all over college athletics for the last several months. It also comes after Cincinnati, Houston and UCF accepted invitations in September to join the Big 12.