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UTSA to receive more national media exposure after joining American Athletic Conference

SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER 2, 2021: The University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners defeat the University of Nevada Las Vegas Rebels 24-17 at the Alamodome (Photo by Jeff Huehn).
Jeff Huehn/Jeff Huehn
SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER 2, 2021: The University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners defeat the University of Nevada Las Vegas Rebels 24-17 at the Alamodome (Photo by Jeff Huehn).

The University of Texas at San Antonio is expected to receive expanded national exposure with its new membership in the American Athletic Conference, announced by university officials on Thursday.

The membership comes as the UTSA Roadrunners football team is off to a 7-0 start and ranked on the Associated Press Top 25 college football teams at No. 24 — both firsts in the school's history.

The conference's board of directors and commissioner approved UTSA’s membership along with other new members Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice and UAB.

The six universities will join the nine continuing American members — East Carolina, Memphis, Navy, South Florida, SMU, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa and Wichita State, which will play only in basketball and Olympic sports

The American will compete as a 14-team league in football and in men’s and women’s basketball, among other sports.

“UTSA is on an amazing upward trajectory with a very bright future. (Thursday) represents a significant waypoint on that journey for our Athletics program,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy in a press release. “Joining The American is a bold opportunity for UTSA and builds on the powerful momentum of the university. We are incredibly excited about the future.”

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“We are thrilled to join the American Athletic Conference and are appreciative to Commissioner Aresco and the conference’s board of directors for their vision and partnership,” said UTSA Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lisa Campos in a press release. “This move will further elevate UTSA as a national brand and advance our goal of transforming lives as San Antonio’s nationally recognized NCAA Division I program. It is a great time to be a Roadrunner.”

The conference will now have a presence in four of the top 10 Nielsen media markets and seven of the top 25.

ESPN will carry football games, while CBS Sports will feature some selected men's basketball games.

Conference officials said UTSA will enjoy greater national media exposure, enhanced brand recognition, more Texas team match-ups and expanded recruiting opportunities, furthering the university’s ability to compete at the highest level.

UTSA boasts 76 conference championships, 58 NCAA postseason appearances, 42 All-Americans and 20 Academic All-Americans in its 40-year history of Division I athletics.

The university has been a member of Conference USA since July 2013. Prior to that, it was a member of the Western Athletic Conference in 2012-13 after more than two decades in the Southland Conference from 1991-2012. The Roadrunners began as an NCAA Division I Independent in 1981 before joining the Trans America Athletic Conference, now the now Atlantic Sun Conference in 1986.

The American Athletic Conference was reconstituted in 2013 and serves its members from its headquarters in Irving, Texas.

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