Beginning with the 2013-2014 season, UConn will compete in the American Athletic Conference, the new name of the league made up of members of the current Big East Conference that play football.
Mike Aresco ’76 JD, commissioner of the current Big East, announced the new conference name in a news release issued early Wednesday evening, following a unanimous vote of the conference’s board of directors.
“We worked with our institutions, sports marketing experts, media partners, and also solicited opinions and reactions from collegiate sports fans to create a compelling list of names,” Aresco said. “Versions that included the word ‘American’ led every list. Our name is a nod to tradition, but at the same time makes clear our determination to be a conference with national impact and appeal.”
Aresco said the current Big East Conference will be rebranded across all platforms, associations and media at the conclusion of the current 2012-13 intercollegiate sports season. The American Athletic Conference will consist of the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina University, the University of Houston, the University of Memphis, Southern Methodist University, the University of South Florida, Temple University, Tulane University and the University of Tulsa. The U.S. Naval Academy will become a football-only member in 2015.
The Big East Conference brand will transfer to the current league’s seven basketball-only institutions, which includes DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova. Butler, Creighton and Xavier will join the new Big East in the fall.
Aresco said in developing the new name the conference conducted extensive research including the use of social media and focus groups in multiple cities and had additional input from its television contract partners, ESPN and CBS Sports, with whom the conference signed new broadcasting deals last month. Both networks will broadcast AAC games through 2019-2020.