Big East will be renamed American Athletic Conference

New York — The current Big East will be called the American Athletic Conference starting next season.

The conference announced the decision Wednesday after university presidents approved the new moniker earlier in the day.

The Big East football schools were in need of a new name after they agreed to let seven basketball schools break away from the conference to start a new league this summer to be called the Big East.

The American Athletic Conference will have 10 members in its first season: Rutgers, Louisville, Connecticut, South Florida, Cincinnati, Central Florida, Memphis, Houston, SMU and Temple.

Rutgers and Louisville are likely leaving after 2013 and are set to be replaced by Tulane, East Carolina and Tulsa in 2014. Navy is schedule to join in 2015.

"We worked with our institutions, sports marketing experts, media partners, and also solicited opinions and reactions from collegiate sports fans to create a compelling list of names," said commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement released by the Big East. "Versions that included the word 'American' led every list. American Athletic Conference represents a strong, durable and aspirational name for our reinvented Conference.

"We engaged our fans through social media and focus groups in multiple cities, and we conducted extensive quantitative research. We also received terrific input from our partners at ESPN and CBS Sports. Our name is a nod to tradition, but at the same time makes clear our determination to be a Conference with national impact and appeal. The American Athletic Conference will represent core American values of optimism, energy, growth and innovation. We have a broad geographical footprint that represents unity as well as diversity."

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