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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Army Will Join the AAC As Football-Only Member in 2024

  • Army West Point has voted to allow the Black Knights football team to join the AAC in 2024.
  • The move will provide stability, but won’t be without logistical challenges.
Army West Point will join the AAC as a football-only member in 2024.
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

In 2024, Army West Point will end its two-decade stint as an FBS independent. On Wednesday, the school announced has voted to allow the Black Knights to join the AAC in 2024.

“In today’s evolving collegiate athletics landscape, it is great to partner with established, respected programs to secure the future success of Army football,” Army athletic director Mike Buddie said. “New NCAA rules, the evolution and growth of the College Football Playoff, the transfer portal, and name, image and likeness have all impacted our competitive landscape, so having a clear path to a Conference Championship, while continuing to fight for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, will help us attract, retain, and showcase our exceptional coaches and cadets.”

Other sports programs will continue to compete in the Patriot League.

The move won’t be without logistical challenges, including a major reshuffle of scheduling, given the school reportedly has years worth of matchups scheduled as an independent.

But ultimately, it will provide stability at a time when being independent is more difficult than ever — the increasing size of many conferences leaves less room for non-conference or independent scheduling.

The AAC has a media deal with ESPN, which pays out about $9 million per school per year, according to tax returns. Army, however, will continue its deal with CBS Sports Network to broadcast home games until 2028.

The Black Knights will join the same conference of their main rival, Navy — which became a football-only member of the AAC in July. However, the traditional Army-Navy matchup will continue to be considered a “non-conference game” played in the second week of December, the school confirmed. The annual matchup against Air Force will also continue.

Army is the latest FBS program with plans to move conferences next season.

All Pac-12 schools with the exception of Washington State and Oregon State will leave the conference, whose fate is in limbo. Texas and Oklahoma, who began this round of realignment, will join the SEC.

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