The current Big East Conference 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, it was announced tonight.
The announcement was made 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,’’ Aresco said. “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. “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.’’
The American Athletic Conference will consist of the Central Florida, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, Southern Methodist, South Florida, Temple, Tulane and Tulsa beginning with the 2014-15 academic year. Navy will become a football-only member in 2015.
With 12 football schools by 2015, it will play a football championship game.
“Our exciting new name is the result of a thorough process that has energized our Conference,’’ South Florida President and Chair of the Executive Committee Judy Genshaft said. “The American Athletic Conference brand will embody the values of competition and sportsmanship that our student-athletes have always exemplified.’’