The AAC saved itself — but in the process, it may have just killed Conference USA.
Yesterday, it announced six C-USA schools would join: UTSA, UAB, FAU, North Texas, Charlotte, and Rice.
It’s the first major move since the Big 12 took the AAC’s three biggest football brands to replace Texas and Oklahoma — which both announced in August they’re heading to the SEC.
- The AAC hopes to gain major markets, “geographic concentration,” and increased media rights value, Commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement.
- Schools will have to pay about $3 million each in exit fees but will start by earning $2 million in AAC TV revenue, according to Yahoo.
- Most current AAC schools receive between $4-6 million in annual distributions, according to tax filings. So the schools have a small bump to look forward to, given that they currently only receive between $1-3 million from Conference USA.
When UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston announced they were leaving the AAC, Aresco said: “The irony that three of our schools are being asked to take the place of the two marquee schools which are leaving the Big 12 is not lost on us. Our conference was targeted for exceeding expectations in a system that wasn’t designed to accommodate our success.”
With his latest moves, the commissioner is still attempting to position the AAC as a “Power 6” conference, he told reporters.
The actual possibility of that is unclear. All we know is that the AAC is safe — for now.