June 28, 2013

SMU athletics will become a member of the American Athletic Conference on July 1. The conference, formerly known as the Big East, announced the decision in April after university presidents approved the new moniker.

AAClogoThe American Athletic Conference will have 10 members in its first season:SMU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, South Florida and Temple. East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa will join the league in 2014, and Navy is set to come aboard in 2015.

In their first full meeting as the American Athletic Conference May 22 in Ponte Vedre, Florida, the conference presidents chose SMU President R. Gerald Turner as their new chair.

Despite the league’s transformation in the year since SMU decided to leave Conference USA, Athletics Director Rick Hart reaffirmed SMU’s commitment to the remaining members of the league who were in the Big East.

“We have partnered with a quality group of schools and our new television contract will provide us with unprecedented visibility and exposure,” Hart said.

Read sports writer Bill Nichol’s take on the new conference here.