STORRS, Conn. (AP) — American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said Thursday there is no chance the conference will keep the University of Connecticut as a football-only member.
UConn this week agreed to rejoin the Big East Conference for basketball and most other sports. The Big East does not compete in football.
UConn Athletic Director David Benedict said Thursday he wanted to talk to Aresco about football and about UConn’s exit from the conference. The AAC bylaws require UConn to give 27 months’ notice before leaving the AAC. It also must pay a $10 million exit fee.
The Associated Press asked Aresco if it was possible the league would be interested in retaining UConn’s football program.
“The short answer is no, not a chance,” he said.
He said there also have not been any negotiations on the terms of UConn’s exit.
“They are required to stay the 27 months,” he said. “If they want to get out early, they would have to take the initiative to talk to us and I’ll leave it at that. That’s going to be up to David. I would anticipate that he would want to talk to me, but that’s going to be up to him.”
Aresco also said he doesn’t believe the school’s departure will hurt his league. He said no decisions have been made on whether the AAC will seek to replace UConn, though he said there have been a number of inquiries from other schools.
He also said the league would not prioritize the Northeast if it does decide to bring on a new member, emphasizing the AAC is a national brand.
“We’re moving forward,” he said. “None of our goals have changed one bit from this. We feel very confident because we’re strong and we’ve been strong. We’re focused on the future and this is not going to change anything for us in that regard.”