UPDATE: On Wednesday, June 15 Rice officially announced it will join the AAC on July 1, 2023.
— Friday, June 10 —
The AAC announced the formal exit of Houston, Cincinnati and UCF opening the door for Rice Athletics to move into the conference in 2023.
The AAC brought college football realignment back to the forefront of the national narrative on Friday morning when they announced Houston, Cincinnati and UCF would be leaving the conference to join the Big XII on July 1, 2023. That move directly impacts Rice, enabling the Owls to move into those vacated seats in the AAC soon.
So, what’s next?
Rice Athletic Director Joe Karlgaard released this statement on Friday afternoon:
“The agreement reached between the American Athletic Conference and its three departing members allows us to formally begin the process of joining the American in the near future. We remain proud members of Conference USA for the 2022-23 academic year, and anticipate releasing more information on our transition to the American in the near future.”
While that statement doesn’t explicitly mention any transition dates, sources confirm to The Roost the intention remains for Rice to join the AAC in 2023, following the conclusion of the 2022-23 academic year which Karlgaard mentions in the release above.
Roost Pod: AAC introductions with Fear The Wave
That timeline is further corroborated by several of the fellow soon-to-be-former Conference USA members which will be making the move with the Owls. Charlotte came out almost immediately following the news, issuing a declaration of their intent to join the AAC in 2023.
Big things are happening for the 2023-24 season!
Charlotte Athletics will officially be joining the @American_Conf! 😎
— Charlotte 49ers (@Charlotte49ers) June 10, 2022
FAU followed suit as did UTSA. Like Rice, North Texas and UAB and each released more general statements of their intent to make the move “soon”. Per Brett McMurphy, each of the six schools must inform Conference USA of their intention to leave for the AAC by Wednesday, June 15.
With UCF, Houston & Cincinnati moving from AAC to Big 12 on July 1, 2023, this allows Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB & UTSA to leave C-USA & join AAC on July 1, 2023. The 6 C-USA schools have until Wednesday to officially announce their intention to leave C-USA early
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) June 10, 2022
The next steps seem like a formality at this point, but it remains good news for Rice, regardless. This week Rice will formalize its intention to leave Conference USA and join the American.
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