AAC approves 8-game conference slate beginning Sept. 19
The American Athletic Conference announced Wednesday that it will play an eight-game conference schedule for football that is slated to begin Sept. 19.
Schools will also have the ability to schedule nonconference games. The league said those decisions will be left up to the individual schools.
The league said it will hold its conference championship game on either Dec. 5, 12 or 19 at the home of the regular-season champion.
The date is flexible depending on events involving the COVID-19 pandemic and on whether or not Navy is a game participant. The annual Army-Navy contest is scheduled for Dec. 12.
“With the guidance of the health experts on the COVID-19 Medical Advisory Board and through the diligent work of the athletics staffs at our schools and at the conference, we have a sensible direction for the return of intercollegiate athletics in the fall,” said AAC board of directors chairman M. David Rudd, who is the president of Memphis.
“The safety of our students, staff members and campus communities will continue to be our top priority. We are confident that the protocols put together by our Medical Advisory Group will guide a safe return to play. As medical information evolves, we will update our plans in conjunction with national, state and local guidelines.”
A 10-game conference schedule was studied but ultimately passed over for the eight-game slate.
Central Florida is among the teams looking to add nonconference games. Athletic director Danny White told reporters on a video call that he would like to play 12 games this season.
UCF currently has games against two ACC members in North Carolina and Georgia Tech on the schedule, but the ACC is limiting schools to one nonconference game and isn’t yet clear if both games will remain on the Knights’ schedule.
UCF also has a home game against Florida International on the slate. Another game, against Florida A&M, could still work out despite that school’s league — the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference — postponing fall sports.
Florida A&M is investigating playing as an independent this season. The university is leaving for the Southwestern Athletic Conference for the 2021-22 school year.
“I wish we were more coordinated in college football, that we had better communication,” White said. “The last month has probably shown we need to get more organized nationally in college football.
“The lack of communication across the board has been challenging for people to make decisions. If anything, I’m grateful that we’re finally at a place where we can start to make decisions where we can figure this thing out.”
In addition to Memphis, Navy and UCF, the other schools in the 11-team league are Cincinnati, East Carolina, Houston, SMU, South Florida, Temple, Tulane and Tulsa.
–Field Level Media