SBD/April 4, 2013/Colleges

Old Big East Announces It Is Rebranding As The American Athletic Conference

The American Athletic Conference "is the new name for the former Big East Conference," according to Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com. The conference yesterday announced the decision "after university presidents approved the new moniker earlier in the day." Commissioner Mike Aresco in a statement said, "Versions that included the word 'American' led every list. American Athletic Conference represents a strong, durable and aspirational name for our re-invented Conference." Sources last month said that Aresco "favored America 12 Conference as the league's new name." However, the schools' presidents "rejected it because they didn't want a number included." ESPN Senior VP/College Sports Programming Burke Magnus said, "The American Athletic Conference is a brand that suggests a national scope and quality membership" (ESPN.com, 4/3). Aresco said, "We worked with our institutions, sports marketing experts, media partners, and also solicited opinions and reactions from collegiate sports fans to create a compelling list of names." USA TODAY's Dan Wolken noted a "number of names were considered, including the possibility of reviving the defunct Metro Conference name." The common name of the league will be "the American" (USATODAY.com, 4/3). Aresco said that the conference "engaged fans through social media and focus groups during the process." He added, "We also received terrific input from our partners at ESPN and CBS Sports. Our name is a nod to tradition, but at the same time makes clear our determination to be a Conference with national impact and appeal." The conference's release stated that a "full set of marks and logos will be presented in the coming weeks" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/4). Univ. of Memphis President Shirley Raines said that the choice of American Athletic Conference "was unanimous." UM AD Tom Bowen said he and other league officials were in agreement that American Athletic Conference "was a dynamic and representative name" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 4/4).

TWITTER REAX: The Birmingham News' Jon Solomon wrote, "Big East becomes American Athletic Conference. Does nothing for me either way. Safe choice." The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Don Walker wrote, "Isn't AAC the name of a music file format too? #applesues." CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman: "AAC? Seriously?"
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