AAC gets waiver to have conference title game after UConn's departure

The AAC is keeping its football title game next year.
The AAC is keeping its football title game next year.

The American Athletic Conference will be able to continue its conference championship game in the post-UConn era.

Commissioner Mike Aresco said Saturday that the conference got a waiver from the NCAA to host a conference title game in 2020 and 2021. UConn is heading to the Big East in all other sports after the 2019-20 season and will be independent in football starting next season.

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UConn’s departure means the AAC will have 11 teams in 2020. While conferences that have fewer than 12 teams are allowed to have title games by NCAA rules, the AAC needed a waiver because it won’t have multiple divisions and its teams won’t play a full round-robin schedule when the conference drops to 11 teams. The Big 12 doesn’t need a waiver for its title game because each of the conference’s 10 teams play each other in the regular season.

“It’s really a relief that this got done,” Aresco told the Philadelphia Inquirer about the waiver. “The conference championship is so important to the league.”

The importance of the conference title game is, of course, primarily about money. Conference title games are revenue drivers for conferences thanks to the television money they generate. And as you know, conferences really, really like money.

Aresco said in August that the AAC had already applied for the waiver following UConn’s announcement it was leaving. The conference seems pragmatic after the Huskies’ departure and isn’t rushing to find a replacement. That’s probably wise because a push to add a team to replace UConn could spark a lower-scale level of conference realignment. And things have been pretty calm on that front lately.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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