FAU accepts invitation to the American Athletic Conference

After spending nine seasons in Conference USA, FAU will have its change of scenery to the AAC.


Eston Parker III

Photo by Eston Parker III.

Richard Pereira, Sports Editor

When FAU joined Conference USA in 2013, it was originally seen as a move to gain more revenue and name recognition for the university. 

Fast-forward nine seasons to now, and FAU has decided to move on for a change of scenery, this time with the American Athletic Conference (AAC).

In a press release the athletics department announced on Thursday, President John Kelly said that the university is proud to be one of the newest members of the AAC.

“As we enter a new era of academic and athletic excellence, the university – and especially our student-athletes – will benefit greatly from the additional resources and exposure afforded by membership in a Power 6 conference,” Kelly said. “I am very proud of our accomplishments as a member of Conference USA and I look forward to continuing our tradition of Winning in Paradise with the [AAC].”

Joining FAU as new members of the AAC are the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), the University of Charlotte, the University of North Texas, Rice University, and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).

As the press release clearly specified, all institutions joining the AAC will be able to broadcast themselves at the national level as the conference’s partnership with ESPN’s family of networks includes “40 conference-controlled football games and 60 conference-controlled men’s basketball games airing on ESPN outlets” annually.

FAU’s Board of Trustees threw their support for the move as chairman Abdol Moabery represented them in the press release. He notes how moving to the AAC means “more expansive media coverage, additional support for our student-athletes, and exciting new rivalries.”

“We have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy our time in Conference USA and we’re proud of our many awards and accolades, including championships in multiple sports,” Moabery said. “I’d like to thank former Commissioner Britton Banowsky and Commissioner Judy MacLeod for their leadership.”

Athletics Director Brian White regarded the decision as momentous and historic for the university as he congratulated everyone who played a role in getting the athletics department in position to join the AAC and thanked Commissioner Mike Aresco and AAC officials for the invitation.

“We greatly appreciate our time in Conference USA and have experienced great success in the conference. The increased exposure we’ll receive in the [AAC] will ensure even more people learn about our wonderful institution,” White said.

FAU will host a press conference in the Schmidt Family Complex for Athletic and Academic Excellence at 4:30 p.m. to publicly accept its invitation to the AAC. The University Press will have a separate story on it after it concludes.

Richard Pereira is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira.