The American Athletic Conference


The Conference soon-to-be-formerly-known as the Big East Conference has decided on its new name: The American Athletic Conference. Or “The American” for short.

They had previously considered The Metro and The United. They made the wrong choice, in my view. A disproportionate number of schools belong to the successor conference to the Metro Conference and that is, in my view, the way they should have gone. The early speculation is that it would call itself the American 12 Conference. When they shot that down, I was hoping it was “American” they objected to rather than the “12” they apparently did. Metro 12 Conference would have been fine.

My main problem with the new name is that (a) it is unbelievably bland and (b) it lacks a shorthand (or they have chosen not to use a shorter one). Early on this was a hodge-podge of schools with little academic, geographic, or historical ties. But as things began to take shape, that ceased to be the case. It became a very similar combination of upward bound, urban public schools and private colleges (and UConn). The conference name should reflect that, in my view. While you don’t get less “metro” than the University of Connecticut, they are one of only a couple of outliers (East Carolina being the other, albeit less so). Or they could have done something with “East” or “Eastern” and let Houston and SMU be the outliers. Or combine the two with Metro East Conference (as a counterpart to Mountain West Conference) or Eastern Metro Conference (which is what I named the conference my psuedonomized college belongs to) with an East Division and a Metro Division (since the non-Metro schools are in the East, and the western/central schools are metropolitan).

We’re entering a new day of college football where regional rivalries mean less than they did and conferences are more of a hodge-podge of schools meant to increase TV market value rather than provide more genuine rivalries and regional interest. Which is a shame, in a way. Even so, I’d prefer it if there was at least an attempt to say “Yes, there are some outliers, but this is who the conference is.”

There’s no doubt that every member of the AmCon (I’m not going to call it “The American”) will be, going forward, angling for a spot in the ACC or Big 12, it would be in the best interest of the schools to at least try to build up the conference they are in with an identity. The NCAA is built on illusions. Go with it, I say. Conference names shouldn’t be a hedge-bet.

Back to AmCon, it’s too much to ask them to consider the name they have just chosen, but I do hope they reconsider the shorthand. AmCon or “The A” strike me as better. Or embrace AAC. or TAAC.

Or, tl;dr version: Bah, humbug.

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


  1. I’m looking forward to being in a conference with Cincinnati, Connecticut, and Temple. Hopefully it stays that way. I’ll also still be able to catch the Tigers when they come to Houston.

    I think “Metr0” would have been better, too, but I don’t care that much what the conference is called.

Comments are closed.