UAB officially joins the American Athletic Conference

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 3:01 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - On Thursday, the American Athletic Conference formally accepted UAB and five other schools from Conference USA. It’s a big move for UAB as it’s expected to create more money and exposure for the Blazers.

It was just short time ago that UAB shut down its football program in 2014 due to finances and lack of support from fans. But, three years later, officials brought the program back and it’s now thriving. Thursday’s move to the AAC signals what many consider an upgrade to a better conference.

UAB has a top notch stadium in Protective Stadium for all of their home games. Thursday, AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco welcomed UAB along with Rice, Charlotte, Texas San Antonio, North Texas and Florida Atlantic to the conference. He said these schools were chosen in part because of the size of their media markets to bring in additional viewers, which will be important for negotiating TV Contracts.

Aresco said the added schools are in growth areas where they can increase their fan base and compete at the highest level. UAB Athletic Director Mark Ingram said the league gives them the chance to renew old rivalries with Memphis and Tulane.

“Most people may not realize this but Birmingham, Alabama is the geographic center of the American Athletic Conference. That was important to us as well. As well as being aligned with other great schools who have a shared vision as we do. First of all to focus on our schools and be great and do all we can do represent our university was important to us.” Ingram said.

Ingram and representatives of the other schools did not talk about finances, but with the AAC’s current TV deal with ESPN and CBS Sports Network, that is expected to mean more money. The new conference is expected to give UAB a higher profile to market the school and recruit athletes.

So far, there is no timetable for UAB to start playing in the AAC.

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