The American Athletic Conference announced Wednesday it is adding Army as a football-only member starting in 2024.
“I think this will be great competition for Army,” AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said. “I think army will be extremely competitive in our conference.”
Army will replace SMU, which is moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference, to keep the American a 14-team football league. Aresco said his conference is done expanding for now.
“We’re happy at 14,” he said.
The addition puts Army and Navy football in the same conference. But their traditional, end-of-the-season, standalone matchup will remain a nonconference game so it can be played after conference championships.
“From the very beginning we knew we had to keep Army-Navy separate,” Aresco said.
Another complicating factor that had to be worked around is Army’s television deal with CBS Sports to broadcast its home games through the 2028 season. The AAC’s TV deal is with ESPN through 2031-32.
Army mostly competes in the Patriot League — along with Navy — but it has been an independent in football for most of the program’s existence. The Black Knights competed in Conference USA from 1998-2004 and never won more than three football games in a season.
Army’s football history includes two national championships and three Heisman Trophy winners in the 1940s and 1950s.
Army’s time in Conference USA was the start of a long down period for the program that included a 14-game losing streak to Navy.
Under coach Jeff Monken, Army has found more consistent success. The Black Knights have five bowl appearances and two double-digit victory seasons since 2016. They are 5-2 in the last seven games against Navy.
This season, Army is 2-5.
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