The ‘Catholic 7’ schools recently split off from the Big East, bringing Creighton, Xavier and Butler with them to form a basketball-centered league. They took the ‘Big East’ name with them, leaving the remnants of the old-Big East in shambles without so much as a name to call their conference.
Thus, UConn, Cincy, South Florida and a number of teams joining from Conference USA and other leagues were left to form a new conference and pick a new name.
At first, the ‘America 12’ was the pervading favorite. However, the school’s leaders did not want a number in their title, in case they were to ever move up to 14 or 16 schools or to drop below 12. In terms of branding the new league was looking for something without either numerical or regional ties.
Thus, the ‘American Athletic Conference’ was chosen.
American Athletic Conference is new name for former Big East, sources told @espn
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) April 3, 2013
Utilizing the term ‘American’ in their new name keeps them from the same regional branding issues other conferences have had to deal with.
Now that the name and branding is taken care of, we can move on to the fun stuff and the question on everyone’s mind: Is this new league actually going to be competitive in the future, or will several more teams leave for greener pastures?