BREAKING: UAB accepts invitation to join American Athletic Conference

UAB Football
Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

UAB and five other colleges have accepted invitations to join the American Athletic Conference. This is a big upgrade and change for the Blazer’s Athletic Program.

“This is a great day for Blazer Nation,” declared UAB Director of Athletics Mark Ingram.

The other five new members are:

  • Charlotte
  • Florida Atlantic
  • North Texas
  • Rice
  • Texas San Antonio

All six of the universities accepting the invitation from the AAC reside in the top 50 U.S. metro television markets according to Nielsen.

Current AAC conference members include: East Carolina, Memphis, Navy, South Florida, Southern Methodist, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa and Wichita State.

The new teams joining the AAC  are replacing Cincinnati, UCF and Houston which are joining the Big 12 after Texas and Oklahoma left for the SEC this summer.

Old Rivals

For UAB, the move means they will be competing regularly against a couple old rivals 

“Competing in the AAC will reunite us with rivals like Memphis and Tulane, increase our exposure, raise the profile of the institution and enhance competitive opportunities for our student athletes and coaches,” Ingram said. 

No date has been set for the Blazers to join the conference, but according to ESPN the earliest they could join would be the 2023-24 season.

Leaving Conference USA

UAB
Photo from UAB Football

A charter member of Conference USA, UAB’s departure signifies an end of an era. 

“We are grateful for more than 25 years with Conference USA and thank conference officials and member institutions for the great memories,” said UAB President Dr. Ray L. Watts. “Now we look forward to forging new memories with perennial basketball power Wichita State, former UAB rivals Memphis and Tulane, tradition-rich service academy Navy, and the many other well-known and respected institutions of the AAC.”

UAB offers 18 NCAA programs: women’s basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, rifle, soccer, softball, tennis, track and volleyball (indoor and beach); and men’s baseball, basketball, football, golf, rifle, soccer and tennis.

What are your thoughts on UAB accepting the invitation to the AAC? Tag us @bhamnow to let us know!

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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