College football realignment: C-USA will ask AAC to reorganize
Conference USA executives sent a letter on Tuesday, which can be read here, to their brothers at the American Athletic Conference asking them to consider a regionalization model to revamp the two leagues, sources say Illustrated sports.
The proposal, coming from C-USA commissioner Judy MacLeod, would force conferences to remake themselves based on geography, creating two new leagues under different names. C-USA presidents met on Monday to approve the decision to contact the AAC, seen as the next step in what has been a weeks-long process of drafting reorganization models.
Arriving on Tuesday, MacLeod declined to comment on the conference’s request to AAC. But she acknowledged her league’s intentions to regionalize with another Group of 5 conference in light of the latest wave of realignment that has engulfed college sports.
âThere’s so much madness,â MacLeod says of the latest realignment, sparked by the impending departure of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC. âIt’s worth it instead of continuing to perpetuate the madness. Our Presidents are ready and would like to have broader conversations on this. We cannot do it alone.
C-USA’s regionalization model would serve as an alternative to the domino effect of realignment, potentially slowing any future movement at the G5 level. However, most in the varsity sports industry believe it is a long way. AAC commissioner Mike Aresco has spoken out publicly against any kind of merger plan.
In fact, the AAC is targeting several schools to fill the voids left by Houston, Cincinnati and UCF, which in September announced their intention to join the Big 12 as early as 2024. One of the conference’s main targets is the C member. -USA UAB, multiple sources say SI. The Blazers and the league have ongoing talks.
UAB would end a wellness story if the deal goes through. The program disbanded its football program in 2014 before restarting it in 2017. It flourished under coach Bill Clark, winning three consecutive division titles and the Conference USA championship with an 11-game winning campaign in 2018. This year alone, the school opened a 47,000-seat, $ 175 million stadium in Birmingham city center.
MacLeod says she is not aware of any imminent departure of any of her members.
In the meantime, she is speaking publicly for the first time about her regionalization proposal which she says would inject more natural geographic rivalries into college sports and save on travel costs at a financially difficult time.
An AAC and C-USA reorganization would likely be carried out along the east-west lines. The plan does not include a new conference but two remade leagues under different conference names.
The Western Conference would include SMU, North Texas, Rice, UTEP, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, Louisiana Tech, Wichita State, UAB, Memphis, and UTSA. The Eastern Conference would include East Carolina, Charlotte, Old Dominion, Temple, Marshall, FAU, FIU, South Florida, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky and two potential new additions.
This would provide more geographically friendly connections and eliminate distant travel. For example, Temple and SMU, 1,600 miles apart, are both in the United States. In the reorganization proposal, the Owls and Mustangs would be in separate conferences.
The reorganization would pair up neighboring schools that currently exist in different leagues. C-USA schools like Florida Atlantic and FIU would be in the same conference as South Florida, currently in the United States. East Carolina, in AAC, would end up in the same conference as Charlotte, currently in C-USA. The same goes for Tulsa, a member of the AAC, and the C-USA North Texas school.
In an interview with OwlsDaily Temple President Jason Wingard last week described the makeup of college lectures today as more geared towards income than geography, which emphasizes travel budgets, creates academic problems and lessen rivalries.
âAs the conferences continue to realign themselves, I think all of these issues are taken into account as schools try to figure out where they want to be and conferences try to determine which schools they want to have as members,â he said. he declared at the point of sale. âBut income really drives these decisions. And geography is not. So more money is made, but more money is spent on these solutions. “
MacLeod briefly described her reorganization proposals with other commissioners, but is not sure “if people are ready to participate,” she said.
âI don’t really understand the fear and paranoia of getting certain groups together and talking,â she says. “With all the uncertainty right now in varsity athletics, there is a chance for us to build something stable.”
C-USA, which employs former Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney as a consultant, has developed several different models for a reorganization, including one that involves the Sun Belt. While he enjoys some support in his own league and even others, the effort is seen as a long term, mainly due to the Group of 5’s long-standing dollar-based pecking order. media rights.
The three conferences â Sun Belt, AAC and C-USA â are separated by their television agreements. The AAC distributes about $ 6 million per year in television revenues, compared to about $ 500,000 in the Sun Belt and C-USA. However, industry experts expect the loss of Houston, UCF and Cincinnati, three of the G5’s biggest names, to negatively impact the U.S. ESPN TV deal, drastically reducing distribution.
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