Six new schools added to American Athletic Conference

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

Tulane Football lost to future AAC opponent UAB 28-21 earlier this season (Parker Waters)

The American Athletic Conference approved the addition of six new schools to the conference. The schools are: the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Florida Atlantic University, the University of North Texas, Rice University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Texas at San Antonio. The AAC now includes 15 schools, with 14 of them playing football.

This follows a frantic movement of schools between athletic conferences. In late July, Big 12 powerhouses University of Texas and University of Oklahoma accepted invitations to join the Southeastern Conference

Two months later, the Big 12 announced that Brigham Young University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Central Florida and the University of Houston will join the conference to replace the Longhorns and Sooners. Cincinnati, UCF and Houston are all current members of the AAC.

The timeline of when all these schools are moving is currently uncertain. The AAC speculates that the six new schools will join the conference for the 2023 season. 

Mike Fitts, Tulane University president and AAC Board of Directors chairman, said, “On behalf of the American Athletic Conference presidents, I look forward to years of healthy competition with our six new members. I am confident that we have not only added fine institutions that share our collective ambition for national success, but we have done so in a deliberate and sensible way that will contribute to the long-term future of the conference.”

On the football field, these six schools should provide stiff competition to the existing AAC members. UAB looks to be the most dangerous team, as the team has maintained a winning record for the last five seasons, including an 11-win season in 2018. The Tulane Green Wave got a preview of this matchup earlier this season, when the Blazers entered Yulman Stadium and left 28-21 victors.  

UTSA are having a strong season, entering the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time in program history at 24. The Roadrunners have yet to lose this season.

The AAC will hope that these moves will keep the conference competitive on a national level, both financially and athletically. Despite adding six new members, it is unlikely the conference will be able to continue to pay member schools the $7 million from television rights.

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