The conference formerly known as the Big East, having reached a deal with the so-called “Catholic 7” to give up its name, has been searching in recent weeks for a new moniker. According to a release, it has found one.
The old Big East will now be known as the American Athletic Conference, the conference announced in a statement Wednesday. The league also announced via its Twitter page that it would refer to itself as “The American” and not the conference’s acronym, AAC.
“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,” said commissioner Mike Aresco. “Versions that included the word ‘American’ led every list. American Athletic Conference represents a strong, durable and aspirational name for our reinvented Conference.”
Beginning at the start of the 2014-15 season, the 11-team conference will feature nine programs that were once members of Conference USA. Only Connecticut and Temple have come from other leagues. Navy will be added as a football-only member in 2015, also not a member of Conference USA. But all movement may not yet be done.
With pieces still shifting on the realignment landscape, there is still a possibility that Connecticut and Cincinnati could make a move and join another conference. Both schools have expressed interest in moving elsewhere in the past.
The American currently has television rights deals with CBS Sports and ESPN.