MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 3, 2013

New league, new name: Big East will be American Athletic Conference when Hurricane join


Phoenix wire reports

— One day after Tulsa announced its move to the league, the current Big East Conference announced that it will be renamed the American Athletic Conference and will rebrand as such across all platforms, associations and media at the conclusion of the 2012-13 sports seasons.  

The announcement was made Wednesday by Commissioner Mike Aresco after unanimous approval by 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,” said Mike Aresco, Big East commissioner.  ”Versions that included the word ‘American’ led every list.  American Athletic Conference represents a strong, durable and aspirational name for our reinvented Conference.

“We engaged our fans through social media and focus groups in multiple cities, and we conducted extensive quantitative research,” Aresco added. “We also received terrific input from our partners at ESPN and CBS Sports. 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. The American Athletic Conference will represent core American values of optimism, energy, growth and innovation. We have a broad geographical footprint that represents unity as well as diversity.”

Beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, the American Athletic Conference will consist of the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Connecticut, 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.    With 12 football schools in the fold by 2015, it will play a football championship game.