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Is The Next Round Of Conference Realignment Coming Soon?

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You don’t have to be the SEC to expand your profile or the Big 12 to lose a couple of quality programs. These days, conference expansion appears to be affecting everyone, and that includes the American Athletic Conference and Conference USA.

According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, six Conference USA schools have reached out to the AAC in hopes of joining: Florida Atlantic, Charlotte, North Texas, UTSA, Rice and UAB.

While those programs are hardly Texas and Oklahoma, they too have a taste for something new.

“These additions would boost the AAC to a 14-team conference in football and basketball. (Navy is a football-only member and Wichita State is a full member that plays basketball but lacks a football program.),” Thamel wrote. “It would radically reshape Conference USA, which is poised to lose six members in key markets.”

Gee, ya think?

Conference USA would be more like Conference SMH, with barely enough programs to survive.

Meanwhile, this would be quite a boost to the AAC, which lost Cincinnati, UCF and Houston to the Big 12. (Yes, Cincinnati is in the Big 12. It’s OK not to know what’s real anymore.)

“One of the guiding philosophies of the AAC’s expansion was to grow through fertile recruiting areas,” Thamel noted. “The AAC expansion committee included a prominent crew of athletic directors from the conference — USF’s Mike Kelly, Memphis’ Laird Veatch, SMU’s Rick Hart and Navy’s Chet Gladchuk.”

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and NBA.com, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side, FortyEightMinutes.com.

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