With the Big 12 Conference on the rocks, other conferences are weighing their options, and that includes the American Athletic Conference (AAC), who reportedly may make a move at remaining Big 12 teams.
Oklahoma and Texas are reportedly set to leave the Big 12 this week, with an announcement coming to the conference on Monday with their stated intentions to leave for the SEC. And while there is so much focus on if the remaining eight Big 12 teams could land in another Power 5, if the Big 12 can’t be salvaged, don’t overlook the AAC.
A new report in The Athletic cites high-ranking sources within the AAC says the conference “plans to act as an aggressor” and “will try to poach the Big 12’s leftovers, potentially as a group.”
The AAC currently consists of 11 teams that has schools who were mostly leftovers from other conferences in the past, and it spans from the southwest to Northeast. In the southeast there’s UCF, South Florida, East Carolina, Tulane, then it moves up to Philadelphia with Temple and into the midwest with Cincinnati and Wichita State, along with Houston and SMU in Texas.
The AAC only paid out $7 million to each of its schools last year, while the Big 12 conference paid out $37 million per program, so it’s unlikely any Big 12 school will be actively seeking out the AAC. But from the AAC perspective, this is a chance to make a splash and make the conference more valuable to TV networks. It won’t be at the level of the Power Conferences, but it will clearly become the best Group of 5, which it already is, and add to that reputation.
But the Big 12 is not dead yet. On Sunday, the conference announced it had recently met with Oklahoma and Texas for a last-ditch effort to try and keep the Big 12 together. It’s believed the conference has offered the two schools a higher revenue share to remain in the league. This week will be very telling for the future of the Big 12 and all the latest will be found here at Heartland College Sports.