UConn, AAC reach agreement on Huskies exit from conference
The AAC and UConn came to an agreement that will see the Huskies leave the league on July 1, 2020.
The next step of UConn moving to the Big East was agreeing to an exit strategy from their old home. The move away from the American Athletic Conference is being billed as the prodigal son returning home. UConn’s departure comes as the AAC recently negotiated a new television deal that was supposed to feature 12 teams. Many thought the divorce would be contentious, but both UConn and the AAC announced a mutual split.
On Friday the AAC announced that UConn and the conference agreed that the school would be leaving the conference effective July 1, 2020. According to reports, UConn will pay a $17 million exit fee to depart the AAC.
“I want to thank David Benedict for his leadership and cooperation in reaching a swift and amicable resolution regarding UConn’s departure, and also UConn president Susan Herbst for her support of the conference,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “We appreciate UConn’s accomplishments in The American, we wish them the best, and we thank them for their contributions over the past six years.”
The agreement gives UConn a solid exit date from the AAC. This now allows the school to focus on what to do with their football program. The Huskies, who were picked to finish last this season, is without a home after the 2019 season. Even with that bit of work remaining, the UConn was incredibly gracious is their exit statement from the league.
“Some of the finest moments in UConn athletics history came during our time as a member of the American Athletic Conference and I am grateful to The American for providing a home to many of our teams over the last six years,” University of Connecticut Director of Athletics David Benedict said. “I would like to thank Mike Aresco and his staff for their professionalism during this process and we look forward to writing a memorable final chapter in 2019-20.”
UConn’s departure now creates an issue for the AAC. They will have 11 teams which complicate the conference having a championship game in football. The NCAA will need to approve a championship game for a league with less than 12 schools. A bigger issue is how UConn leaving affects the AAC’s 12-year, $1 billion TV deal with ESPN. Aresco addressed this during AAC media day.
We’ll have some discussions with ESPN about the changes in the TV deal with UConn leaving the conference.
— Nathan Bond (@BullsNathanSBN) July 16, 2019
The Huskies are now full speed ahead to the Big East, and it is beginning to yield positive results. Men’s basketball head coach Dan Hurley mentioned that recruiting had seen a positive turn. Hurley stated that the school could sell the Big East instead of “a great basketball league that didn’t fit us.”
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