Sources: AAC targets Army as SMU replacement

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Army has emerged as the American Athletic Conference’s top expansion target, sources said.

After a call with AAC presidents and ADs on Friday morning, it was clear that Army was the league’s top choice to replace SMU, according to sources. Commissioner Mike Aresco has begun informally exploring Army as an expansion candidate.

Aresco has engaged with Army AD Mike Buddie about potential membership, sources said. The addition of Army would only be for football, a similar arrangement that Navy has with the AAC.

No decision is imminent, as both sides need to explore more details, per sources. Army would take the spot left by SMU, which joined the ACC on Friday and left the AAC with 13 teams. Army would come in as the 14th. Other schools were discussed on Friday, but none gained significant traction and only Army has received outreach from the AAC.

One thing that will be important to Army is keeping the Navy game on the same date at the end of the college football calendar, which would likely mean it’s a non-conference game. The Army Navy game takes place on the weekend following the conference championship game, a window that ensures large viewership.

Army is an independent, which would limit the normal complications of leaving if both sides proceed with the courtship in the upcoming weeks.

SMU left the AAC on Friday, joining Cal and Stanford in boosting the ACC to 18 teams, 17 of which play football. Starting next year, the Big Ten will have 18 programs, while the SEC and Big 12 will have 16.



POST AUTHOR: Pete Thamel

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