UTSA has announced it will join the American Athletic Conference.
The American’s board of directors and Commissioner Mike Aresco approved UTSA’s membership along with fellow Conference USA members Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice and UAB.
The six universities will join the nine continuing American members — East Carolina, Memphis, Navy (football only), South Florida, SMU, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa and Wichita State (basketball and Olympic sports only) — to bring The American’s membership to 15 schools. The American will compete as a 14-team league in football and in men’s and women’s basketball, among other sports.
“UTSA is on an amazing upward trajectory with a very bright future. Today represents a significant waypoint on that journey for our Athletics program,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “Joining The American is a bold opportunity for UTSA and builds on the powerful momentum of the university. We are incredibly excited about the future.”
“We are thrilled to join the American Athletic Conference and are appreciative to Commissioner Aresco and the conference’s board of directors for their vision and partnership,” said UTSA Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lisa Campos. “This move will further elevate UTSA as a national brand and advance our goal of transforming lives as San Antonio’s nationally recognized NCAA Division I program. It is a great time to be a Roadrunner.”
With the addition of the new members, The American will have a presence is four of the top 10 Nielsen media markets, in seven of the top 25, and in 12 of the top 51 media markets. The league will have four teams in the state of Texas, alone.
“I am extremely pleased to welcome these six outstanding universities to the American Athletic Conference,” said Aresco. “This is a strategic expansion that accomplishes a number of goals as we take the conference into its second decade. We are adding excellent institutions that are established in major cities and have invested in competing at the highest level. We have enhanced geographical concentration which will especially help the conference’s men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports teams. And we will continue to provide valuable inventory to our major media rights partner, ESPN, which will feature our members on the most prominent platforms in sports media. Additionally, we increase the value in live content options for CBS Sports, which features selected men’s basketball games on CBS Sports.”
As a member of The American, UTSA will enjoy greater national media exposure, enhanced brand recognition, more Texas team match-ups and expanded recruiting opportunities, furthering the university’s ability to compete at the highest level.
UTSA competes in 17 intercollegiate sports — baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s golf, women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field and women’s volleyball — at the NCAA Division I level.
UTSA boasts 76 conference championships, 58 NCAA postseason appearances, 42 All-Americans and 20 Academic All-Americans in its 40-year history of Division I Athletics.
The university has been a member of Conference USA since July, 2013. Prior to that, it was a member of the Western Athletic Conference in 2012-13 after more than two decades in the Southland Conference from 1991 to 2012. The Roadrunners began as an NCAA Division I Independent in 1981 before joining the Trans America Athletic Conference (now Atlantic Sun) in 1986.
The American Athletic Conference was reconstituted in 2013 and serves its members from its headquarters in Irving, Texas. The American sponsors 22 championships, 10 for men and 12 for women, has television partnerships with ESPN, CBS Sports (for select men’s basketball games) and CBS Sports Network (for most Navy home football games), and has a marketing partnership with Learfield.