UAB Athletics is officially joining the American Athletic Conference—learn more

UAB dance team cheering on UAB football, an integral part of UAB athletics
The UAB Blazers and five other schools are joining the AAC. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Following University of Alabama at Birmingham President Ray L. Watts’s 2021 announcement of UAB’s intention to join the AAC, he and Director of Athletics Mark Ingram have given fans an official date for the transition: July 1, 2023. Read on for more details.

What is the AAC?

UAB football player dodges Rice players (UAB athletics)
UAB football player Starling Thomas V playing against Rice University. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

After the addition of six new teams, the American Athletic Conference will be a 14-team league. Members include both public and private universities from all over the country. UAB intends to become a full member, which means that every athletic team will transition to competing in the AAC by the 2023-2024 season (with the exception of beach volleyball, rifle and bowling).

Why it matters

UAB athletics basketball court
All UAB Athletics will be joining the AAC. (Cliff Martin / Bham Now)

“We’re looking forward to competing for championships in the AAC, and it is an exciting milestone to now know when that will begin.”

– Ray L. Watts, President of University of Alabama at Birmingham

UAB is a charter member of Conference USA and has been competing in C-USA since 1995. However, the AAC is a result of the conference realignment of 2010-14 and thus a relatively new conference. Local sports experts have heralded this move as a potential boon to Birmingham’s economy, as the AAC will draw in a much larger audience and fan base than C-USA could.

UAB Athletics reaches new heights

UAB campus recreation center, a part of UAB athletics
UAB Athletics has had a banner year, with the addition of several new buildings. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

This is just one of many exciting changes UAB is undergoing currently. UAB has also funded renovations to over 25 athletic complexes over the past seven years, including Protective Stadium and a $22.5 million football practice facility. These improvements have paid off—UAB has won two C-USA football conference championships, one C-USA men’s basketball championship and one C-USA women’s basketball championship since 2017.

“We have made the most of every opportunity in recent years to propel UAB Athletics to new heights, and joining the AAC is an incredible opportunity to build on all we have accomplished in a big way. We’ve worked hard to make great progress that put us in this position, and we don’t intend to slow down. This is another great day for UAB Athletics and Blazer Nation, and it is still just the beginning.”

– Mark Ingram, Director of UAB Athletics

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Lily Plowden
Lily Plowden
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