The American Conference is adding Army as a football-only member. What does that mean for Rice football?
On Tuesday morning, news broke that Army would be joining the American Conference as a football-only member. That is particularly notable for Rice football, given the Owls’ current non-conference scheduling. Rice is under contract to play Army in 2024 as a non-conference game which begs the question, what is happening with that game in light of these new developments?
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Given the nature of this news, a portion of this Q&A will be open to everyone this month, specifically the conference-wide updates AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco shared on Tuesday afternoon, a day which Aresco called “a great day for Army and the American Athletic Conference.”
On expansion, Aresco said the league “has no interest in expanding beyond 14” at this time and intends to stay put with its current 14 football members with eight conference games. Army and Navy will not be scheduled as regular season opponents and the annual Army-Navy game will remain a non-conference game the weekend following conference championship games as it currently is played.
Aresco deferred to Army Athletic Director Mike Buddie when asked for specifics on how Army would handle getting out of several game contracts to be available for a full conference schedule in 2024. As part of those plans, though, Aresco did say the conference would be providing financial support to Army to help facilitate that transition.
“We are going to help Army,” Aresco said, in response to a question regarding the AAC’s willingness to help Army get out of those contracts. Beyond that, Aresco declined to specify what size of a revenue share Army would be receiving. He was only willing to go as far as to say everyone was “happy with what we worked out.”
Due in part to some of these challenges, Army will not simply be slotted into the schedule in place of departing member SMU. That means future AAC schedules will have to be reworked. “You don’t just put Army in place of SMU,” Aresco said, adding that he anticipates a resolution on scheduling “within a month or so.”
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