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UAB, 5 others officially join American Athletic Conference for 2023 football season

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UAB and five other Conference USA members will officially make the jump to the American Athletic Conference for the 2023-24 athletic year, the schools and league announced Wednesday.

The AAC has reached membership agreements with UAB, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice and UT San Antonio, said Commissioner Mike Aresco. The move had been planned since October, although before Wednesday (AL.com reported at the time that the 2023-24 start date was most likely).

We are thrilled and excited to welcome our new members to the conference in 2023 as we enter our second decade, Aresco said. Our incoming schools are a premier group of attributes that will enhance the Power 6 goals of our conferences. We have seen the investment and commitment these institutions have made as they prepare to compete in The American, and together with our experienced established institutions, the conference is assured of many years of championship-level competition as part of a bright future that will build on the extraordinary legacy of the past decade.

The six newcomers will officially join the conference on July 1, 2023, a day after Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston leave for the Big 12. They will join East Carolina, Memphis, SMU, South Florida, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa and Navy/Wichita State to form a 14-team conference (Navy only participates in football; Wichita State in every sport except football).

UAB will play its final Conference USA seasons across all sports in 2022-23. The Blazers have been members since the league was founded in 1995.

We’ve been looking forward to competing for championships in the AAC, and it’s an exciting milestone to now know when that will start, UAB President Ray Watts said† I want to thank and congratulate everyone who helped make this happen, including the AAC leadership and affiliates, the Director of Athletics Mark Ingram, his talented UAB Athletics team, the UAB Athletics Foundation, the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees, UA System Chancellor Finis St. John and the UA System Office, as well as other key leaders and supporters within and outside of UAB.

Conference USA shrinks from a 14-member league to nine schools in 2023-24, with Jacksonville State, Liberty, New Mexico State and Sam Houston State joining the Florida International, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, UTEP and Western Kentucky properties. The league previously lost to Marshall, Old Dominion and Southern Miss of the Sun Belt Conference, which also added former FCS school James Madison.

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