Three schools to depart from the AAC for the Big-12



The AAC banner is unveiled during the State of the American event in Koch arena.

Three schools – University of Cincinnati, University of Central Florida, and University of Houston – officially announced on Friday their plans to leave the American Athletic Conference for the Big 12.

All three schools were founding members of the AAC back in 2013 but are now set to move conferences starting in 2023. Despite the departures, AAC commissioner Mike Arescor feels confident with the direction the conference is headed.

“All three of these institutions have enjoyed unprecedented success as members of The American, as have our remaining schools. Many of our schools have achieved competitive success similar to the departing schools,” Aresco said in a statement. “We have every expectation that the three departing schools will abide by the conference bylaws to ensure an amicable and orderly transition. We wish them continued success in the future.”

According to multiple reports earlier this week, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF had officially applied for Big 12 membership and received invitations, which was formally announced on Friday.

“The last time the Big 12 went through this shakeup, basically they interviewed every institution in the American,” WSU Athletic Director Darron Boatright said in August. “So, that should not be something we’re surprised by if it happens but there’s a solidarity in our conference right now that is comforting. I think we have a very competitive and very balanced number of institutions in our league right now that I think when it comes to stability.”

AAC members are required to give a 27-month exit notice and pay a $10 million penalty, which means the three schools will have to wait until 2023. The notice — usually in the form of a letter — starts the 27-month clock. When Connecticut left the conference for the Big East in 2019, their timeline was increased after paying a $17 million penalty.

The AAC is expected to fill the remaining holes left from the three schools departures. Following these departures, the conference now has eight full-time members of the conference.

The American still has five associate members – United States Naval Academy (football), University of Florida (women’s lacrosse), Vanderbilt University (women’s lacrosse), Old Dominion University (women’s rowing and women’s lacrosse), and California State University, Sacramento (women’s rowing).