AAC has no plans to add new member after UConn's departure

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco said the league has no plan to add a 12th member after UConn leaves for the Big East.
American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said the league has no plans to add a 12th member after UConn leaves for the Big East. (AP Photo/Stew Milne, File)

It looks like the American Athletic Conference will stand pat with 11 members following the exit of the University of Connecticut.

During his annual state-of-the-conference address at AAC Media Day, commissioner Mike Aresco said the league does not have any plans to add a new member following UConn’s departure to the Big East.

“We are inclined to stay at 11. We are not going to add a team for the sake of adding a team,” Aresco told reporters.

UConn’s move to the Big East creates unbalance in the AAC from a divisional standpoint. A natural move would be for the conference to look to add a new member, but Aresco said Tuesday that the AAC is “not targeting anyone” at this point.

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“We have no plans at this point to add a member to replace UConn. Down the road if there's someone interested in us that could enhance our strength and brand we would consider it,” Aresco said.

Aresco also made it clear that he does not want to “rile up” the college sports landscape by plucking a school from another conference and potentially prompting another round of realignment.

“Why would you force us to have a 12th team and raid another conference if we don’t want to?” he said.

Aresco: We don’t like unbalanced divisions

Once UConn is no longer in the picture, Aresco said the league will likely scrap its divisional format instead of having five teams in the East division and six teams in the West. To prepare for that, Aresco said conference officials have reached out to the Big Ten to learn how the league organized its schedule during its time as an 11-member league.

There is no interest in dropping down to 10 members either, Aresco said.

If the AAC does get rid of its divisions, Aresco said the conference championship game is not going anywhere. But to drop down to 11 members without divisions, the league will need an NCAA waiver in order to keep the AAC title game in place.

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