We Belong: Aresco Touts AAC's Similarities To College Football's Power Conferences
American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco "wants everyone to know his league has the resources and the will to be included with the top college football conferences in the country," according to Ralph Russo of the AP. Aresco yesterday opened the conference's first football media day "by touting its accomplishments and making the case that the American is not so dissimilar" to the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. He said, "Whatever the highest level of Division I is in the future, we expect to be part of it." Aresco added that he and his members "share many of the concerns of the big five conferences" (AP, 7/30). In Providence, Kevin McNamara writes what Aresco "doesn't want to see ... are changes to the NCAA basketball tournament." The AAC "currently has the NCAA basketball champ" in both men's and women's hoops. Aresco: "I like the basketball tournament the way it is. We have a wonderful gem that needs to be protected. The fact that you have teams from all conferences qualifying means you have all parts of the country involved and any change in that would change the tournament fundamentally" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 7/31).
THE SCARLET LETTER? In Newark, Tom Luicci writes there is a "sense of detachment between Rutgers and the AAC." The school and the conference remain "in court trying to resolve" Rutgers' exit fee. Any signs of Rutgers' previous association with the Big East "have been erased as well." The AAC has "decided not to accept the old Big East statistical records, meaning the conference will start with a clean slate from that standpoint." Rutgers AD Julie Hermann has "offered an olive branch of sorts by reversing a decision by her predecessor, Tim Pernetti, and allowing the AAC logo [to] appear on Rutgers' athletic facilities, including the football field, for this season" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 7/31).
HOME SWEET HOME: The PROVIDENCE JOURNAL's McNamara notes the AAC’s offices remain in Providence as a "long-term lease is in place on beautiful office space and there are no plans to move elsewhere." Aresco said, "The office still being here is a source of pride for our employees and the community, I think. But I think the people in Rhode Island, like people everywhere, will care about our conference because we intend to be a player on the national stage" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 7/31).