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2024 American Athletic Conference Annual Meeting Highlights

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American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco, who has led the conference since its formation in 2013, joined the league’s presidents, athletic directors, senior woman administrators and faculty athletics representatives for the conference annual business meetings May 29 and 30.

The highlight of the meetings was a Wednesday-night celebration of Commissioner Aresco, who had announced his retirement in December. Each athletic director and senior woman administrator presented Aresco with a gift from their respective campuses, while The American’s Board of Directors announced that, effective with the 2024 football championship game, the most outstanding player will be presented with the Mike Aresco Most Outstanding Player award.

“Serving as Commissioner of the American Athletic Conference has been the most rewarding experience of my career,” said Aresco. “I want to thank our board chair, Philip Rogers of East Carolina, our previous chair and College Football Playoff Board representative Michael Fitts of Tulane, as well as our athletic directors chair, Jon Gilbert of East Carolina, for their tremendous support of the conference. I have been blessed in this conference to have worked with wonderful presidents, athletic directors, senior woman administrators, faculty athletic representatives, other staff members at our schools and an outstanding conference staff.

“I have received some credit for the extraordinary success of the conference, but I am humbled by it because it was our student-athletes who performed great deeds against tough odds. I gave voice to them and fought to gain the attention I knew they deserved. But they were the ones who threw the passes, made the baskets, sank the putts, won the sprints and struck people out. I leave with great affection for all of them and a great appreciation for all they have done to further this wonderful conference.”

The conference’s strong financial status was highlighted during a presentation of The American’s Finance Committee. The base distribution pool for conference members was higher than the approved FY24 budget, while the conference's operating expenses were once again lower than projected.

NCAA President Charlie Baker provided updates on the recent settlement in the House v. NCAA legal matter as well as the implementation of the NCAA’s eight-year media rights agreement with ESPN. The conference presidents and athletic directors expressed concerns related to the settlement in the House case, among them the ramifications to sport sponsorship and the process through which the settlement was reached.

The athletic directors supported maintaining the conference’s existing principles pertaining to football scheduling for the 2025 season. The conference will prioritize keeping repeat matchups in consecutive years, having teams play at least one road game in the Eastern and Central time zones annually, supporting regional travel and having each team play at least one game in the state of Texas every two years.

In basketball, the conference will exercise its option with Dickies Arena in Fort Worth to serve as the site of the league’s women’s and men’s basketball championships through 2028. The conference will examine a number of postseason models to provide the best regular-season and championship experience for its basketball student-athletes.

The American unanimously approved initiatives proposed by the conference’s senior woman administrators, including the awarding of the 2025 American Athletic Conference Softball Championship to South Florida and increasing the fees paid to softball umpires in an effort to continue to attract the highest-rated performers nationally.

Cal Christian, Chair of the Department of Accounting at East Carolina and the chair of The American’s faculty athletics representatives, presented on behalf of the conference’s Academic Consortium. The Consortium continues to fund the conference’s annual Academic Symposium, which was hosted by UTSA in 2024 and will take place at North Texas in 2025 and at Wichita State in 2026.

Temple rowing student-athlete Madelyn Fox and North Texas diving student-athlete Saylor Hawkins represented The American’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and provided updates in areas of student-athlete engagement and the campus-wide efforts in support of the conference’s Powerful Minds and Unity Week campaigns. They also expressed their stance in opposition to a model that would classify student-athletes as employees and their support for national efforts to restrict sports betting by student-athletes.

Finally, The American announced the following appointments to existing conference committees, effective June 3:

·         Bill Hardgrave, president of the University of Memphis, and Dr. Taylor Eighmy, president of the University of Texas at San Antonio, have been appointed to the Board of Directors Executive Committee through 2026.

·         Dr. Richard Muma, president of Wichita State University has been named chair of the Board of Directors Audit Committee. Rhea Law, president of the University of South Florida, and Stacy Volnick, president of Florida Atlantic University have been appointed to the Board of Directors Audit Committee through 2026.

·         Jared Mosley (North Texas) and Kris Pierce (Senior Woman Administrator, South Florida) have been named to the Athletic Directors Executive Committee through 2026.

·         Brian White (Florida Atlantic) and Ragean Hill (Senior Woman Administrator, Charlotte) will serve on the Athletic Directors Finance Committee through 2026.

·         Mike Hill (Charlotte) was named as the athletic director representative on the conference’s Women’s Basketball Sport Committee through 2026.

·         Christine Moeller (Senior Woman Administrator, UTSA) and Brian McDevitt (SAAC Advisor, Rice) will serve on the conference’s SAAC Administrative Committee through 2026.
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