The American Athletic Conference Board of Directors and Commissioner Mike Aresco have announced that the Army West Point Athletic Association Inc.'s application for membership in The American was approved by the board.
“The addition of the United States Military Academy at West Point further solidifies the national presence and prestige of football in the American Athletic Conference. Commissioner Mike Aresco and the AAC Board of Directors have a tremendous vision for our conference and we at Florida Atlantic are honored to be part of it," said FAU's Athletics Director Brian White.
Army West Point's legendary football program, which has won five national championships and produced three Heisman Trophy winners and multiple consensus All-America selections and College Football Hall of Fame inductees, will begin competition in The American for the 2024 season. The Black Knights' other athletics programs will remain members of their current conferences.
“We are excited to welcome Army West Point into the American Athletic Conference,” said Philip Rogers, Chancellor of East Carolina University and Chair of The American’s Board of Directors. “Having Army as a member of The American strengthens our conference in every way. We look forward to having the Black Knights and the Corps of Cadets visit our campuses and we are equally as excited to have our respective teams compete at Michie Stadium.”
“We are honored to welcome Army to the American Athletic Conference,” said Aresco. “Army’s football program has an iconic national brand with a legacy of success that spans more than a century and is a perfect fit with our conference. We are immensely proud to welcome another of our nation's distinguished service academies with a proud history and central role in defending America and our freedoms, and which is one of the nation's most prestigious academic institutions. I would like to thank Lieutenant General Steven Gilland and Athletic Director Mike Buddie for their vision and partnership throughout this process. We look forward to having Army and coach Jeff Monken on our sidelines beginning in 2024.”
Army's football pedigree traces its roots to 1890, when Army and Navy played the first game in what has become one of the best rivalries in all of sports. The Black Knights won three consecutive national championships from 1944-46 under legendary head coach Red Blaik and saw Doc Blanchard (1945), Glenn Davis (1946) and Pete Dawkins (1958) win the Heisman Trophy. Army has enjoyed a recent resurgence under 10th-year head coach Jeff Monken, who led Army to a program-record 11 wins in 2018, when the Black Knights finished the season ranked No. 19, and has delivered four bowl victories to West Point, the most of any coach in program history.
Army plays its home games at storied Michie Stadium, which has been cited by Sports Illustrated as one of the great sports venues in the United States.
The addition of Army to The American gives the conference an institutional presence in five of the top 10, eight of the top 25 and 13 of the top 51 Nielsen media markets. Army is located in the No. 1-rated New York DMA.
The annual Army-Navy Game presented by USAA will not be counted as a conference game as the rights remain with both institutions. Army and Navy would meet in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game, however, if both teams qualify.
"We are proud and honored to have Army join Navy in our conference," said Aresco. "The Cadets and Midshipmen represent the best of the best."
The American will continue to compete as a 14-team conference in football in the 2024 season.