DALLAS–The American Athletic Conference held its annual meeting at the Grand Hyatt DFW in Dallas, Texas on May 30-31, which was attended by presidents, athletic directors, senior woman administrators and faculty athletic representatives from The American’s 13 member institutions.
During the two days of meetings, the presidents and athletic directors had extensive and productive discussions with respect to the Conference’s upcoming media rights negotiations and online strategies. In connection with the media rights discussion, it was announced that WJHW (Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon and Williams) has been selected to conduct a campus digital assessment at each school. The athletic directors also approved a women’s volleyball postseason championship which will begin in 2019. The six-team tournament will take place the weekend (Friday-Sunday) prior to Thanksgiving and will be held on the campus of the regular-season champion from the previous year.
“I was extremely pleased with the dialogue we had at our meeting in Dallas, which reflected the progress our Conference institutions have made since the reinvention of this league,” said American Commissioner Mike Aresco. “The growth and success of our Conference over the past five years has been extraordinary, but we also know that we still have much more work to do. We have gained tremendous traction with our Power 6 narrative, and have become the nationally respected and relevant conference we always envisioned. Our focus over the next several months will be on our media rights, as we all understand its importance to the future of our Conference. We also plan to celebrate our five-year anniversary and our league’s accomplishments within that period. We were pleased to have Kevin Lennon attend our meeting to discuss key issues facing intercollegiate athletics today. Our Conference is keenly interested in these issues and will contribute to the national conversation on these matters. I could not be prouder of this Conference. We are a growth stock of unlimited potential and I applaud our institutions for the outstanding work they have done.”
The University of Central Florida’s Manoj Chopra, chair of The American’s Faculty Athletic Representative (FARs) group, reported on the successful second annual Academic Consortium Symposium, which was held in April at UCF. The event was attended by more than 70 individuals, including 18 student-athletes, from all 13 American schools. In 2019, the Symposium will take place March 29-30 at the University of Tulsa, and will focus on student-athlete mental health.
Enna Selmanovic from the University of Cincinnati and Georgi Dolence from the University of Houston, members of the Conference’s Student-Athlete Advisory Executive Board, attended the meeting and shared updates on SAAC’s initiatives during the 2017-18 school year. Selmanovic and Dolence noted the primary SAAC focus at all American institutions will continue to be on mental health awareness and SAAC’s #Pow6rFulMinds campaign.
Kevin Lennon, NCAA Vice President Division I Governance, provided updates on the NCAA’s Transfer Working Group deliberations, the recent report from the Rice Commission on College Basketball, and also participated in a discussion of the Supreme Court’s recent decision on sports wagering.
Several appointments for the upcoming 2018-19 school year were also announced. Richard Englert, president of Temple University, and Neville Pinto President of the University of Cincinnati, were named to The American’s Board of Directors Executive Committee. John Bardo, President of Wichita State University and incoming UCF President Dale Whitaker were selected to the Board Audit Committee.
The University of Connecticut’s David Benedict was appointed to the Athletic Director’s Executive Committee and also will serve as chair of the AD Finance Committee. Temple University’s Patrick Kraft and the University of Houston’s Chris Pezman were appointed to the AD Finance Committee. UCF’s Brandi Stuart was appointed chair of the Senior Woman Administrator Committee and named to the AD Executive Committee. Shelley Binegar of East Carolina University and Marquita Armstead of the University of South Florida were appointed to the AD Finance Committee and AD Executive Sportsmanship Committee, respectively, while ECU’s Danielle Morrin will serve as the liaison to The American’s SAAC.
THE AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
The American Athletic Conference (The American), a member of the NCAA, was reconstituted in 2013. With the conference office in Providence, Rhode Island, The American is comprised of the following institutions: UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, Navy (in football only), USF, SMU, Temple, Tulane and Tulsa. Wichita State (basketball and Olympic sports) joined the Conference on July 1, 2017. Under the leadership of Commissioner Mike Aresco, The American sponsors 21 championships – 10 for men and 11 for women; is a member of the College Football Playoff; began new television partnerships with ESPN and CBS Sports in 2014; and has a marketing partnership with IMG College. For more information, please visitwww.TheAmerican.org.