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Poll: Poll: Your views on best possible AAC expansion plan
Goal: 12 schools; simply replace UConn with one all sports member.
Goal: 12 schools; replace UConn with 1 FB & 1 non FB member
Goal: 14 schools; add 3 full members
Goal: 14 schools; add 3 FB & 3 non-FB members
Goal: 14 FB & 14 non-FB schools in any combination
Goal: 15 schools, like the ACC
Goal: 16 schools; add 5 FB & 5 non-FB members
Goal: 14 schools; add 5 full members
Goal: 16 FB & 16 non-FB schools in any combination
Remain at 11 AAC schools
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Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
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jedclampett Offline
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Post: #1
Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
There is active talk about how the AAC and ESPN will respond to the pending loss of UConn at the end of the current academic year.

The cards are being played very close to the vest, and there is very little information coming out of the AAC Commissioner's Office on this topic.

However, there have been a large number of stories either released, leaked, or discussed on university or conference message boards, indicating that the AAC office has been literally deluged with notifications of interest from universities wishing to join the AAC, in the wake of UConn's announced departure.

What do you think would be the AAC's best move at this point, in its partnership with ESPN (what would be best for the AAC and ESPN)?

Should the AAC simply replace UConn, or should they weigh the many other alternatives that may present themselves after hearing from dozens of G5 and independent D1/FBS universities?

Would it make sense to shoot higher, for perhaps 14, 15, or 16 member schools in an attempt to establish the AAC as the nation's 6th NCAA "Power Conference?"

If so, which schools could or should be added?

One option would be for the AAC to add 3 non-FB schools that are within its broad geographic footprint and 2 or 3 FB-only schools from regions west of the Mississippi River.

Another would be to start by adding a FB and a non-FB school, to replace UConn (e.g., VCU and Air Force (FB only)), and then wait before expanding to 14 for 2-3 years, presumably renegotiating media contracts at that point.

The most ambitious option would be to consider expanding to 16 member schools. However, this may be most iffy proposition, and it might not happen until the 12 year media deal expires, or until there is some kind of realignment between now and 2026.

What we know is this: There is going to be change in the AAC, no matter how closely the AAC Commissioner continues to play the cards to the vest, and no matter how long ESPN remains silent on the matter. The phone has been ringing off the hook in the AAC offices, and some kind of a decision is going to be made, because too much money is on the line, and because ESPN is about to lose a multi-million media market to FoxSports.
(This post was last modified: 10-03-2019 03:11 AM by jedclampett.)
10-03-2019 02:16 AM
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jedclampett Offline
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RE: Expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC) poll (multi-vote option)
Will add a couple of informative notes here:

There are few good candidates to join as all-sports members. The most obvious of these include Buffalo and SDSU, both of which have a history of generally solid FB & BB programs in recent seasons.

Most of the quality FB-only schools, which would include many current MWC members and Rice University (AAU, outstanding academics U research, legacy FB program in the former Southwest Conference), are west of the Mississippi. Buffalo, another AAU institution in the large New York State market has been mentioned above as a potential future member. A lot of AAC fans would like to see Army added, but Army's HC has rejected the idea outright. Top candidates from the standpoint of many AAC fans include Air Force, Boise, BYU (seemingly uninterested, but perhaps tempted), Colo St. and SDSU. Dark horses include UMass and various semi-obscure members of various G5 conferences along the Atlantic seaboard.

In contrast, most of the quality non-FB schools are located east of the Mississipi River. The top candidate emerging from the fan discussions seems to be VCU, head and shoulders above the competition. Others include upper tier or legacy Atlantic 10 schools (Davidson, Dayton, possibly St. Louis, UMass (state flagship), ODU, and Northern Iowa (rival to Wichita State).


Considering the situation, the most likely expansion outcome would probably involve adding mostly FB-only and non-FB (BB/olympic sports) schools. To maintain East and West Divisions, some juggling and re-drawing of geographic lines would likely be required, although the option would exist to go with a modified divisional structure for some sports.
10-03-2019 03:07 AM
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ChrisLords Offline
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RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
The best possible expansion play assuming you can't take from the power 5 would probably be BYU, Boise State and San Diego State all as FB only. And then add no one to the non-football side because you are at 11 which is perfect for round robin scheduling with a 20 game conference schedule. The problem is none of those schools want to join.

The best option for schools that would say 'yes' come from either CUSA or is Appalachian St. ODU is attractive because of their location in a major recruiting hotbed and that their athletics budget would fit right in with the other AAC schools but they have a small football stadium and even after they finish expanding it, would still be the smallest in the AAC. Rice is attractive for a lot of reasons but most of those reasons are covered by Houston being in the same market. If Houston were to leave, Rice would be a near automatic replacement pick. UAB and Southern Mississippi are long time conference members with most of the AAC schools but are each a distant 3rd in their own states.

It seems to me that staying at 11 is ideal whether or not you get a waiver for a championship game. If you don't get a waiver, you play a balanced schedule by having 2 teams in the east play each other twice and rotate that every year. Preserving 11 teams in basketball for the round robin schedule is also a reason to not add another school. Be it a full member or a fb only and a non-fb school.
10-03-2019 03:42 AM
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CitrusUCF Offline
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RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
App State is the obvious addition to strengthen football. I’m agnostic as to whether they should be an all sports addition or FB-only. If all-sports, I believe their historically bad basketball program will see a much needed injection of resources and prestige from the AAC and show improvement. If not, I’m sure they would willingly move to the A-Sun or Big South, which would allow us to add VCU for Olympic sports. Either outcome works for me.
10-03-2019 05:04 AM
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jedclampett Offline
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RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
(10-03-2019 03:42 AM)ChrisLords Wrote:  The best possible expansion play assuming you can't take from the power 5 would probably be BYU, Boise State and San Diego State all as FB only. And then add no one to the non-football side because you are at 11 which is perfect for round robin scheduling with a 20 game conference schedule. The problem is none of those schools want to join.

The best option for schools that would say 'yes' come from either CUSA or is Appalachian St. ODU is attractive because of their location in a major recruiting hotbed and that their athletics budget would fit right in with the other AAC schools but they have a small football stadium and even after they finish expanding it, would still be the smallest in the AAC. Rice is attractive for a lot of reasons but most of those reasons are covered by Houston being in the same market. If Houston were to leave, Rice would be a near automatic replacement pick. UAB and Southern Mississippi are long time conference members with most of the AAC schools but are each a distant 3rd in their own states.

It seems to me that staying at 11 is ideal whether or not you get a waiver for a championship game. If you don't get a waiver, you play a balanced schedule by having 2 teams in the east play each other twice and rotate that every year. Preserving 11 teams in basketball for the round robin schedule is also a reason to not add another school. Be it a full member or a fb only and a non-fb school.


Interesting point about 11 being ideal. It doesn't strike us as ideal right now, due to the loss of revenue from UConn's departure, which could put downward pressure on the conference as far as future earning power is concerned (ESPN has lost a remunerative market).

Regarding potential MWC FB members, there has been a lot of scuttlebutt about confirmed phone calls from several of them to the AAC Commissioner's office. I'm pretty sure that Colorado State was one of those, for example, and they would be an attractive footprint-extending FB addition compared to UConn.

My guess is that ESPN will begin to feel the loss of $5 million or more per year from losing UConn in its pocketbook almost immediately, and that since they're stuck paying the AAC schools the negotiated amount or forced to try to renegotiate (very difficult), they are going to make sure that the AAC has 12 FB and 12 BB schools as soon as humanly possible.

Going beyond that to 14 schools is the kind of thing the league might do if it wants to continue its upward momentum, add $$ markets, and build itself into a consensus Power conference. The AAC is already approaching the lower ranked P5 conferences in FB (ACC) and MBB (PAC-12; surpassed last season). Add a couple more high profile or big media market teams, and voila, the "P6" could become a fait accompli within 3-6 years.

Another advantage of expanding is that it would prevent the AAC from a financial calamity if some P5 conference hauls off and raids a couple of teams in the future. It would be better to have 14 members in that event, dropping to 12 after a raid, rather than having 12 members and dropping to 10 after a raid, which would have the effect of voiding and renegotiating downward our media package.

So, sure there are some scheduling advantages to an 11 team conference, but we're feeling a lot of financial pressure and this can be relieved by increasing to at least 12 teams and maybe 14 later on.
10-03-2019 05:40 AM
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Yosef Himself Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
(10-03-2019 05:04 AM)CitrusUCF Wrote:  App State is the obvious addition to strengthen football. I’m agnostic as to whether they should be an all sports addition or FB-only. If all-sports, I believe their historically bad basketball program will see a much needed injection of resources and prestige from the AAC and show improvement. If not, I’m sure they would willingly move to the A-Sun or Big South, which would allow us to add VCU for Olympic sports. Either outcome works for me.
App doesn't have a "historically bad" program. Just a super bad one the last three coaching hires made by the same arrogant AD that is no longer here.


App State FB to the AAC isn't going to happen anyway, imo. Though a yearly game with ECU would be nice, at least there's 4 games scheduled in the future with them.
(This post was last modified: 10-03-2019 06:18 AM by Yosef Himself.)
10-03-2019 06:16 AM
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Fighting Muskie Offline
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RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
I am a fan of trying to build a national P6 by extending full invites to AFA, Colo St, BYU, and Boise St and football membership to Army.

The service academies, BYU, and Boise St all add a lot of name recognition and having those mountain time zone schools will allow the AAC to play in the late night a lot.

That line up pretty much gives the AAC a stranglehold on the G5 slot as I am doubtful that even an undefeated G4 would be able to unseat a 1 loss AAC champ.
(This post was last modified: 10-03-2019 08:03 AM by Fighting Muskie.)
10-03-2019 06:35 AM
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jedclampett Offline
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RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
(10-03-2019 06:35 AM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  I am a fan of trying to build a national P6 by extending full invites to AFA, Colo St, BYU, and Boise St and football membership to Army.

The service academies, BYU, and Boise St all add a lot of name recognition and having those mountain time zone schools will allow the AAC to play in the late night a lot.

That line up pretty much gives the AAC a stranglehold on the G5 slot as I am doubtful that even an undefeated G4 would struggle to unseat a 1 loss AAC champ.


I love it - so great to hear someone from outside the AAC proposing to increase the number of "Power" conferences from 5 to 6, and also proposing to share the wealth even further by increasing the size of the AAC, which would help establish it as a 6th "P" conference, to increase the market for the media companies, allowing them in particular to distribute the wealth just a bit more equitably than has hitherto been the case.

Most of the AAC fans, including myself, would love to see the AAC - in the process of becoming a power conference - become the home of all the service academies if that would be agreeable to the AFA and West Point.

It has been noted that Army, Air Force, and Navy - which have at times in NCAA history been considered the national FB powerhouses - are determined to play in conferences where they can be competitive. While it might have been a concern in previous years, Air Force and Army are certainly competitive enough today that they could have successful seasons as members of a 6th power conference.

Adding AFA and Army FB programs could definitely be among the keystones to building the AAC into a consensual power conference, and adding them would probably have shared benefits for all concerned.

There is some reason to believe that Colo St, BYU, and Boise St FB programs might all be welcomed to the AAC at some point in the coming years, depending on how quickly ESPN could generate the revenue needed to ramp up the payment schedules that each of these institutions would need to make such a move be cost-effective.

Beyond this broad discussion, there is a more immediate point, which is that if any of these institutions were to make a very strong and immediate application to replace UConn's FB program, they might have a very good chance to be granted the opportunity as soon as the 2000 or 2001 FB season, as ESPN would probably appreciate getting the infusion of $$$ from the media market to be added (and in the case of the service academies, this would be a nation-wide and to some extent international media market).

============================================

One further point to emphasize that this should not be a matter of greed on the part of the AAC:

Most of us in the G5 conferences know far too well how unfair the payment distributions have been to the G5 conferences. Many G5 institutions, including the AAC before the new deal goes into effect have received extremely low distributions, and this is not right. It has made the rich richer and the poor among the G5 poorer.

The AAC as a conference has been starting to benefit and will continue to benefit from an increase in revenues from media payouts. But all of the conferences, including the AAC will be receiving only a fraction of the amount distributed to the P5 conferences, and when it comes to funding for education, our nation stands for equality of educational opportunity as a fundamental principle.

Thus, just as we in the AAC look forward to a more equitable share of the wealth generated by the sports media companies going forward, I hope that we will all take a stronger and stronger stand in favor of distributing much more equal payments to all of the G5 conference institutions, until all of these institutions have a chance to compete on an equal playing field.

Students at the poorer G5 universities deserve just as much - if not more - support from conference distributions stemming from the hundreds of millions in annual profits of the media companies every year.

The P5 brand of football is not a quantum leap higher in quality than the G5 brand of football. True, there is not complete parity, but many of us actually find G5 football more interesting than P5 football - and the same goes for NCAA basketball.

Hopefully, we will hopefully see a day in our lifetimes when the B1G conference receives no more money from the national sports media than the Mountain West or MAC or C-USA or Sun Belt Conference receives.

As the distributions to the poorer conferences increase, the average American will no doubt benefit from the distribution of funds to a much wider range of FBS institutions. Not only will the quality of competition benefit, but the benefits of university medical research and all the other benefits to American communities that come from fully-funded universities will also increase.

So if the AAC does become the next true power conference, many of us hope that the spreading of the wealth will not end there, but will continue until all the G5 universities are lifted up to something approaching parity within our lifetimes.

That is not too much to ask of the dominant sports media, for no one doubts that they too will find a way to benefit as much or more from any future arrangements that will be made in the years ahead.
10-03-2019 07:14 AM
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quo vadis Online
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RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
(10-03-2019 07:14 AM)jedclampett Wrote:  Hopefully, we will hopefully see a day in our lifetimes when the B1G conference receives no more money from the national sports media than the Mountain West or MAC or C-USA or Sun Belt Conference receives.

Media payouts are made on market value, not wishful thinking. The B1G makes a ton more media money than the MAC because the public values the B1G football and basketball much higher than the MAC.

It's really not complicated, and only "unfair" if you have a socialist mindset.

Of course, I noticed that your socialism only extends to the G5. Why not share all the wealth with all of NCAA football - FCS, D2, D3? Their students 'deserve' just as much.
(This post was last modified: 10-03-2019 08:15 AM by quo vadis.)
10-03-2019 08:13 AM
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RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
I think it's going to be really interesting with basketball with all the 20 game schedules....

Is the selection committee going to change? Because right now, they haven't taken a team fewer than 4 games over .500 to make the tournament since 2000. Until the committee shows that they're actually going to start taking those teams, don't know that you can say that they should go 20 games.
10-03-2019 08:17 AM
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MUsince96 Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
I'd like to see the confirmation that MWC schools have placed phone calls to the AAC.
10-03-2019 08:43 AM
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RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
(10-03-2019 08:43 AM)MUsince96 Wrote:  I'd like to see the confirmation that MWC schools have placed phone calls to the AAC.

If I had to bet, I would say that (a) no MW schools have called the AAC, and (b) nobody from the AAC has called any MW schools.

To me, what seems evident is that the new AAC deal was not enough money to tempt any of the *desirable* MW schools to want to join the AAC, and on the other hand, I take Aresco at his word that the AAC is happy with 11 football members right now. Though that could change if they hit a snag with their CCG application.
10-03-2019 08:46 AM
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GoldenWarrior11 Offline
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RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
Going past twelve members likely dilutes the pot, as ESPN won't likely increase the payouts for past that number (if they wanted to, they would have had the AAC expand with UConn last year in advance of the TV negotiations). Schools like BYU, Boise State, San Diego State, Air Force and Army are all the ideal goal, as football-only members, but those programs passed in joining the league in 2012, and are likely resisting overtures right now (as those programs would have been added immediately if given the opportunity). BYU and Army value its independence, Air Force won't come without Colorado State, Boise State has a unique and advantageous deal on its own, and San Diego State is simply too far outside the footprint without another western program tagging along. A non-football member like a VCU, or a Dayton, or a SLU, would only be brought in as a complement to a football-only member.

As a result, the AAC is restricted to adding members from C-USA, MAC and Sun Belt. The MAC is a tightly-wound league, with like-minded schools and geographic proximity, and the Sun Belt is a step below C-USA, so an addition from that league would hurt perception. That only leaves C-USA (where a majority of the current AAC membership came from). From within C-USA, I think you can eliminate programs like FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee State and Louisiana Tech for geographic overlap or weak media markets that would not likely help the growth of any future AAC exposure. Normally, I would also group Rice in this group, but they are exempt due to their academic status and previous associations with Houston and SMU (but I think it is very unlikely that Rice gets an invitation).

That leaves UAB, Marshall, UNC-Charlotte, North Texas, Old Dominion, Southern Mississippi, UTEP, UTSA and Western Kentucky as the likeliest full-member candidates. I would think that ECU would try and block Charlotte. I also have no idea how Houston/SMU would view North Texas/UTEP/UTSA, either as an acceptance or as a rejection (most likely just look at other candidates). In terms of football potential, UAB (IMO) has the highest ceiling, especially with their new stadium in Birmingham on the way. They are right in the middle of the AAC footprint, and would bring along a solid men's basketball program as well. They also share a long history with many current AAC members. Marshall would also slide in nicely as a geographic counterpart to Cincinnati, Temple and ECU, and would bring a solid history of football (and men's basketball). Old Dominion brings a big(ger) market as well as a high(er) athletic program budget, but they are still an infant to FBS and I'm not sure the league membership would want another young football program (relatively speaking) after UConn's departure. Southern Mississippi has a very low athletic budget, even by C-USA standards. Even if they were to start receiving AAC payouts, they would still be behind many C-USA programs.

Thus, I would rank the candidates as follows:
1. UAB
2. Marshall
3. Old Dominion
10-03-2019 08:57 AM
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RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
(10-03-2019 08:57 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  Going past twelve members likely dilutes the pot, as ESPN won't likely increase the payouts for past that number (if they wanted to, they would have had the AAC expand with UConn last year in advance of the TV negotiations). Schools like BYU, Boise State, San Diego State, Air Force and Army are all the ideal goal, as football-only members, but those programs passed in joining the league in 2012, and are likely resisting overtures right now (as those programs would have been added immediately if given the opportunity). BYU and Army value its independence, Air Force won't come without Colorado State, Boise State has a unique and advantageous deal on its own, and San Diego State is simply too far outside the footprint without another western program tagging along. A non-football member like a VCU, or a Dayton, or a SLU, would only be brought in as a complement to a football-only member.

As a result, the AAC is restricted to adding members from C-USA, MAC and Sun Belt. The MAC is a tightly-wound league, with like-minded schools and geographic proximity, and the Sun Belt is a step below C-USA, so an addition from that league would hurt perception. That only leaves C-USA (where a majority of the current AAC membership came from). From within C-USA, I think you can eliminate programs like FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee State and Louisiana Tech for geographic overlap or weak media markets that would not likely help the growth of any future AAC exposure. Normally, I would also group Rice in this group, but they are exempt due to their academic status and previous associations with Houston and SMU (but I think it is very unlikely that Rice gets an invitation).

That leaves UAB, Marshall, UNC-Charlotte, North Texas, Old Dominion, Southern Mississippi, UTEP, UTSA and Western Kentucky as the likeliest full-member candidates. I would think that ECU would try and block Charlotte. I also have no idea how Houston/SMU would view North Texas/UTEP/UTSA, either as an acceptance or as a rejection (most likely just look at other candidates). In terms of football potential, UAB (IMO) has the highest ceiling, especially with their new stadium in Birmingham on the way. They are right in the middle of the AAC footprint, and would bring along a solid men's basketball program as well. They also share a long history with many current AAC members. Marshall would also slide in nicely as a geographic counterpart to Cincinnati, Temple and ECU, and would bring a solid history of football (and men's basketball). Old Dominion brings a big(ger) market as well as a high(er) athletic program budget, but they are still an infant to FBS and I'm not sure the league membership would want another young football program (relatively speaking) after UConn's departure. Southern Mississippi has a very low athletic budget, even by C-USA standards. Even if they were to start receiving AAC payouts, they would still be behind many C-USA programs.

Thus, I would rank the candidates as follows:
1. UAB
2. Marshall
3. Old Dominion

I'd kind of think ECU would block ODU more than they would Charlotte. I think it's closer to ODU for ECU than it is Charlotte...

I do wonder if the AAC offered a Northern Illinois what they would do.
10-03-2019 09:37 AM
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RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
(10-03-2019 02:16 AM)jedclampett Wrote:  What we know is this: There is going to be change in the AAC, no matter how closely the AAC Commissioner continues to play the cards to the vest, and no matter how long ESPN remains silent on the matter. The phone has been ringing off the hook in the AAC offices, and some kind of a decision is going to be made, because too much money is on the line, and because ESPN is about to lose a multi-million media market to FoxSports.

Wait, when did this happen?
10-03-2019 09:55 AM
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RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
(10-03-2019 09:37 AM)stever20 Wrote:  
(10-03-2019 08:57 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  Going past twelve members likely dilutes the pot, as ESPN won't likely increase the payouts for past that number (if they wanted to, they would have had the AAC expand with UConn last year in advance of the TV negotiations). Schools like BYU, Boise State, San Diego State, Air Force and Army are all the ideal goal, as football-only members, but those programs passed in joining the league in 2012, and are likely resisting overtures right now (as those programs would have been added immediately if given the opportunity). BYU and Army value its independence, Air Force won't come without Colorado State, Boise State has a unique and advantageous deal on its own, and San Diego State is simply too far outside the footprint without another western program tagging along. A non-football member like a VCU, or a Dayton, or a SLU, would only be brought in as a complement to a football-only member.

As a result, the AAC is restricted to adding members from C-USA, MAC and Sun Belt. The MAC is a tightly-wound league, with like-minded schools and geographic proximity, and the Sun Belt is a step below C-USA, so an addition from that league would hurt perception. That only leaves C-USA (where a majority of the current AAC membership came from). From within C-USA, I think you can eliminate programs like FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee State and Louisiana Tech for geographic overlap or weak media markets that would not likely help the growth of any future AAC exposure. Normally, I would also group Rice in this group, but they are exempt due to their academic status and previous associations with Houston and SMU (but I think it is very unlikely that Rice gets an invitation).

That leaves UAB, Marshall, UNC-Charlotte, North Texas, Old Dominion, Southern Mississippi, UTEP, UTSA and Western Kentucky as the likeliest full-member candidates. I would think that ECU would try and block Charlotte. I also have no idea how Houston/SMU would view North Texas/UTEP/UTSA, either as an acceptance or as a rejection (most likely just look at other candidates). In terms of football potential, UAB (IMO) has the highest ceiling, especially with their new stadium in Birmingham on the way. They are right in the middle of the AAC footprint, and would bring along a solid men's basketball program as well. They also share a long history with many current AAC members. Marshall would also slide in nicely as a geographic counterpart to Cincinnati, Temple and ECU, and would bring a solid history of football (and men's basketball). Old Dominion brings a big(ger) market as well as a high(er) athletic program budget, but they are still an infant to FBS and I'm not sure the league membership would want another young football program (relatively speaking) after UConn's departure. Southern Mississippi has a very low athletic budget, even by C-USA standards. Even if they were to start receiving AAC payouts, they would still be behind many C-USA programs.

Thus, I would rank the candidates as follows:
1. UAB
2. Marshall
3. Old Dominion

I'd kind of think ECU would block ODU more than they would Charlotte. I think it's closer to ODU for ECU than it is Charlotte...

I do wonder if the AAC offered a Northern Illinois what they would do.

IMO an AAC invite would be FB-only. NIU would try to join the Horizon. If Horizon/Summit said no, the WAC would take us for numbers.
10-03-2019 09:58 AM
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CliftonAve Online
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Post: #17
RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
They aren't adding anyone unless BYU or Army becomes available. Meeting tomorrow, per Cincinnati's AD Tuesday night, to go over scheduling for an 11-team conference going forward.
10-03-2019 10:04 AM
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YNot Offline
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Post: #18
RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
(10-03-2019 08:46 AM)quo vadis Wrote:  
(10-03-2019 08:43 AM)MUsince96 Wrote:  I'd like to see the confirmation that MWC schools have placed phone calls to the AAC.

If I had to bet, I would say that (a) no MW schools have called the AAC, and (b) nobody from the AAC has called any MW schools.

To me, what seems evident is that the new AAC deal was not enough money to tempt any of the *desirable* MW schools to want to join the AAC, and on the other hand, I take Aresco at his word that the AAC is happy with 11 football members right now. Though that could change if they hit a snag with their CCG application.

No media contracts have yet been announced for either BYU or the MWC. And, there is no indication that ESPN wants anything more from the MWC other than Boise State and 10pm ET inventory. So, the MWC isn't getting anything close to AAC value in its next media deal. Boise State might get something close, but the rest of the MWC will share the leftovers, which likely wouldn't top $3M per year per school...and that's being generous.

I would be surprised if the AAC contract hasn't tempted any of the MWC schools to reach out....at least through ESPN or other back channels.
10-03-2019 10:17 AM
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GoldenWarrior11 Offline
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RE: Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
(10-03-2019 09:37 AM)stever20 Wrote:  
(10-03-2019 08:57 AM)GoldenWarrior11 Wrote:  Going past twelve members likely dilutes the pot, as ESPN won't likely increase the payouts for past that number (if they wanted to, they would have had the AAC expand with UConn last year in advance of the TV negotiations). Schools like BYU, Boise State, San Diego State, Air Force and Army are all the ideal goal, as football-only members, but those programs passed in joining the league in 2012, and are likely resisting overtures right now (as those programs would have been added immediately if given the opportunity). BYU and Army value its independence, Air Force won't come without Colorado State, Boise State has a unique and advantageous deal on its own, and San Diego State is simply too far outside the footprint without another western program tagging along. A non-football member like a VCU, or a Dayton, or a SLU, would only be brought in as a complement to a football-only member.

As a result, the AAC is restricted to adding members from C-USA, MAC and Sun Belt. The MAC is a tightly-wound league, with like-minded schools and geographic proximity, and the Sun Belt is a step below C-USA, so an addition from that league would hurt perception. That only leaves C-USA (where a majority of the current AAC membership came from). From within C-USA, I think you can eliminate programs like FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee State and Louisiana Tech for geographic overlap or weak media markets that would not likely help the growth of any future AAC exposure. Normally, I would also group Rice in this group, but they are exempt due to their academic status and previous associations with Houston and SMU (but I think it is very unlikely that Rice gets an invitation).

That leaves UAB, Marshall, UNC-Charlotte, North Texas, Old Dominion, Southern Mississippi, UTEP, UTSA and Western Kentucky as the likeliest full-member candidates. I would think that ECU would try and block Charlotte. I also have no idea how Houston/SMU would view North Texas/UTEP/UTSA, either as an acceptance or as a rejection (most likely just look at other candidates). In terms of football potential, UAB (IMO) has the highest ceiling, especially with their new stadium in Birmingham on the way. They are right in the middle of the AAC footprint, and would bring along a solid men's basketball program as well. They also share a long history with many current AAC members. Marshall would also slide in nicely as a geographic counterpart to Cincinnati, Temple and ECU, and would bring a solid history of football (and men's basketball). Old Dominion brings a big(ger) market as well as a high(er) athletic program budget, but they are still an infant to FBS and I'm not sure the league membership would want another young football program (relatively speaking) after UConn's departure. Southern Mississippi has a very low athletic budget, even by C-USA standards. Even if they were to start receiving AAC payouts, they would still be behind many C-USA programs.

Thus, I would rank the candidates as follows:
1. UAB
2. Marshall
3. Old Dominion

I'd kind of think ECU would block ODU more than they would Charlotte. I think it's closer to ODU for ECU than it is Charlotte...

I do wonder if the AAC offered a Northern Illinois what they would do.

What do you feel are the advantages that NIU would bring to the AAC? They are in the bottom third of MAC athletic spending, have a small stadium, are subpar in men's basketball and have trailed off in football after the end of the Doeren/beginning of the Carey era. Additionally, to the Presidents, they are a #293-#381 national academic university with an endowment of under $100 million.

IMO, they are perfectly suited in the MAC.
10-03-2019 10:33 AM
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michael.stevens.3110 Offline
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Post: #20
Active discussions regarding expansion of the American Athletic Conference (AAC)
The Only option that makes sense is Rice University


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10-03-2019 10:44 AM
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