A new era of excellence.
— #WinningInParadise (@FAUAthletics) October 21, 2021
BOCA RATON, Fla. – 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, on Thursday.
“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,” FAU Board of Trustees Chair Abdol Moabery said. “We have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy our time in Conference USA and we’re proud of our many awards and accolades, including championships in multiple sports. 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 our time in 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.
The American Conference Notables
- Three New Year’s Six bowl champions (UCF in 2013 and 2017, Houston in 2015)
- Six New Year’s Six bowl spots in eight years, including each of the last four seasons
- A total of 16 teams that have finished in the top 25 of the AP poll since 2013
- Four top-25 teams in the final 2019 rankings (only the SEC and Big Ten had more)
- Two top-10 finishes for UCF (No. 10 in 2013, No. 6 in 2017), a No. 8 national finish for Houston (2015) and a No. 8 national finish for Cincinnati (2020); a No. 11 national finish for UCF in 2018
- 2015 Lambert Trophy for Navy as the top team in the East
- 13-win seasons by Houston (in 2015) and UCF (in 2017)
- Two school-record 11-win seasons for Navy (2015, 2019)
- School-record 12 wins for Memphis in 2019
- School-record 11 wins for South Florida in 2016 and back-to-back seasons (2016, 2017) with at least 10 wins
- A 25-game winning streak for UCF from 2017-18
- NCAA-record 88 career touchdowns for Navy’s Keenan Reynolds
- An NCAA-record 31 consecutive games with 30 or more points for UCF football from 2017-19, coming after South Florida set the mark with 24 straight 30-point games from 2015-17
- Tulsa became the first team in college football history with a 3,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard rushers and two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season (2016)
- East Carolina’s Zay Jones with an NCAA-record 399 career receptions, breaking the mark of his former teammate Justin Hardy
- Memphis’ Brady White won the 2020 William V. Campbell Trophy as college football’s top scholar-athlete
- Temple’s Tyler Matakevich (in 2015) and Tulsa’s Zaven Collins won both the Bednarik Award and the Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defensive player
- Houston’s Ed Oliver won the 2017 Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman
- Memphis’ Tom Hornsey won the 2013 Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter
- Three top-10 Heisman Trophy finishes (Keenan Reynolds of Navy was fifth in 2015; McKenzie Milton of UCF was eighth in 2017 and sixth in 2018)
- South Florida registered its 150th football win in 2018, achieving that milestone faster than any Division I school in the state of Florida
- Two 2016 AAU James E. Sullivan Award winners as the nation’s top amateur athlete (Navy football player Keenan Reynolds and UConn basketball player Brianna Stewart)
- 71 NFL Draft selections since the formation of the conference in 2013, including 19 players taken in the 2021 Draft
- UCF quarterback Blake Bortles was the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft
- Four NCAA Championship basketball teams (three women, one men)
- 2021 Final Four appearance for Houston men’s basketball
- 2021 NIT Championship for Memphis men’s basketball
- Two top-20 NBA Draft picks (James Wiseman of Memphis was No. 2 in 2020; Precious Achiuwa of Memphis was No. 20 in 2020)
- Temple, Memphis, SMU, Houston and UCF have all been part of the basketball edition of College GameDay
- 600 career wins for Tulane women’s basketball coach Lisa Stockton
- Twelve NCAA individual champions
- Third-place national finishes for Houston men’s outdoor track and field in 2018 and 2019
- Fifth-place national finish for Tulsa at the 2019 NCAA Men’s Cross Country Championship and a sixth-place finish in 2020
- SMU’s Avery Acker was the 2015 women’s volleyball Academic All-America of the Year; Tulsa cross country runner Kirk Smith was chosen as a Rhodes Scholar in 2016
- 2014 American Athletic Conference men’s golf champion and 2015 NCAA individual champion Bryson DeChambeau of SMU has gone on to become one of the top players on the PGA Tour, including a win at the 2020 U.S. Open
- 2014 all-conference tennis player Joe Salisbury of Memphis has gone on to win two Grand Slam championships in doubles (2020 Australian Open men’s doubles title, 2021 French Open mixed doubles) and has reached the quarterfinals in all four majors
- Two-time all-conference tennis player Dominik Koepfer of Tulane has gone on to earn a top-50 ATP world ranking and won three matches in the 2019 U.S. Open
- Two top-10 Major League Baseball draft picks (Wichita State’s Alec Bohm was No. 3 overall in 2018; Cincinnati’s Ian Happ was No. 9 in 2015)