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By Erica Thomas, Managing Editor
UAB is one of six schools that submitted applications Tuesday to become part of the AAC, according to ESPN.
The conference has been looking to expand since conference realignment began with the SEC taking Oklahoma and Texas earlier this year. Pete Thamel, with Yahoo! Sports said the AAC is looking to become a 14-team football league with the addition of UAB, as well as FAU, Charlotte, North Texas, UTSA and Rice.
Acceptance is expected to come easily and terms of expansion should be sent to the schools by the end of the week.
Sources: The American Athletic Conference is expected examine expansion this week, with six schools expected to send applications. The AAC is expected to receive an application from – FAU, Charlotte, North Texas, UTSA, Rice and UAB this week. 1/2— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) October 18, 2021
UAB Football has come a long way since the program was shut down in December 2014. They have claimed three division titles and a Conference USA (C-USA) championship. Just this year, the team made the move from Legion Field to Protective Stadium. The new 45,000-seat stadium in downtown Birmingham is now the home of the Blazers.
C-USA said in a letter to AAC that board members had been discussing reorganizing plans and wanted to discuss those plans with the AAC Commissioner and President. C-USA reportedly wanted the conferences to become more geographically aligned. Conversations have continued but no detailed plans have been released.
AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco is staying positive. He told Sports Illustrated in September, “The Big 12 is taking our teams because of what’s happened to them. That tells you all you need to know in terms of where we are. Teams will be interested in us that have the resources to compete at the highest level in our league with an outstanding TV partner in ESPN.”
According to the AAC’s strategic plan, leadership works to “take the Conference to greater heights.” The AAC said leaders have worked to make deals with television providers, including ESPN. The ESPN deal includes appearances on ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2, and ESPNU.
“Away from the competitive arena, The American has established itself as a leader in the area of student-athlete wellness, both through the adoption of NCAA autonomous legislation on matters including full cost of attendance and nutrition,” AAC’s website states. “The conference, in conjunction with its Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has also launched the Pow6rful Minds campaign to improve awareness and education on mental issues and recognize the scholarly achievements of the conference's student-athletes.”
1819 News has reached out to the UAB Athletic Communications Office for comment about a possible move. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.