FAU Accepts Invite to The American Athletic Conference
Florida Atlantic University has entered into a membership agreement with the American Athletic Conference, as announced Thursday by FAU President John Kelly, Board of Trustees Chairman Abdol Moabery and Brian White, FAU’s vice president and director of athletics.
“Florida Atlantic University is proud to be one of the newest members of the American Athletic Conference. As we enter a new era of academic and athletic excellence, the university – and especially our student-athletes – will benefit greatly from the additional resources and exposure afforded by membership in a Power 6 conference,” President John Kelly said. “I am very proud of our accomplishments as a member of Conference USA and I look forward to continuing our tradition of Winning in Paradise with The American.”
Membership in The American will provide an opportunity for FAU to align with institutions with similarly strong academic profiles. Owls student-athletes have held above a 3.0 grade point average for five consecutive years.
The exposure afforded the university through athletics will showcase the university on a national stage. The American’s partnership with ESPN’s family of networks includes 40 conference-controlled football games and 60 conference-controlled men’s basketball games airing on ESPN linear outlets per year.
“This is a great day for Florida Atlantic University. Membership in the American means more expansive media coverage, additional support for our student-athletes, and exciting new rivalries,” said FAU Board of Trustees Chair Abdol Moabery. “We’re proud of our many Conference USA awards and accolades, including championships in multiple sports, and we will continue to enjoy our time as members of the conference. I’d like to thank Former Commissioner Britton Banowsky and Commissioner Judy MacLeod for their leadership.”
FAU also will now have the opportunity for exposure in four of the top 10, seven of the top 25 and 12 of the top 51 Nielsen media markets. The Owls will face four teams from the state of Texas, two in North Carolina and one each from Louisiana, Tennessee and Alabama. Additionally, for the first time, the Owls will travel to face conference foes in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Oklahoma and Kansas, as well as competing against in-state foe USF.
“This is a momentous, historic day for Florida Atlantic University,” FAU Vice President and Director of Athletics Brian White said. “Congratulations to everyone who has played a role in putting FAU Athletics in position to join a prestigious conference such as The American. Also, thank you to Mike Aresco and everyone with The American for the invitation. We greatly appreciate Conference USA and have experienced great success in the conference. The increased exposure we’ll receive in The American will ensure even more people learn about our wonderful institution.”
FAU opened the on-campus 29,419-seat FAU Stadium in 2011, the $49 million Schmidt Family Complex for Academic and Athletic Excellence in 2020 and have won a total of three conference football titles [2007 Sun Belt, 2017 and 2019 in Conference USA] while playing in five bowl games since becoming FBS eligible in 2007, winning four. FAU is 2-1 versus AAC members in bowl games, defeating Memphis in 2007 and SMU in 2019. FAU football has also boasted two All-Americans, including the 2019 John Mackey Award winner Harrison Bryant, who was a consensus All-American. FAU baseball has made 12 NCAA regional appearances since 1999.
FAU will be one of six universities – alongside UAB, Charlotte, North Texas, Rice and UTSA – that will join The American at a date to be determined. The newest members will join nine continuing members – East Carolina, Memphis, Navy (football only), South Florida, SMU, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa and Wichita State (basketball and Olympic sports only) – to bring The American’s membership to 15 schools. The American will compete as a 14-team league in football and in men’s and women’s basketball, among other sports.
FAU began competing as an NCAA division I institution in 1993-94 and first held membership with the Atlantic Sun Conference, then known as the Trans America Athletic Conference, moved to the Sun Belt in 2004 and then to Conference USA in 2013.