For The Long Haul: AAC Extends Contract Of Commissioner Mike Aresco Through '22
The AAC has "extended the contract" of Commissioner Mike Aresco -- the only person to hold the position in the four-year-old conference's history -- through June '22, according to Joey Knight of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. Widely considered the premier Group of Five conference, Aresco has "unabashedly campaigned" for the AAC to be on par with the Power Five conferences, "making that objective the cornerstone of the league's ambitious strategic plan." A hashtag (#AmericanPow6r) even has "been unleashed." During Aresco's watch, the AAC has added ECU, Tulane and Tulsa for all sports, as well as Navy for football and Wichita State for basketball. He also implemented an football title game, and was "instrumental in securing a New Year's bowl berth for the highest-ranked team in the Group of Five" (TAMPABAY.com, 5/15). The AP noted Aresco became commissioner in '12 and led the conference through a "tumultuous transition" from the Big East to the AAC. He "helped rebrand the conference as realignment stripped the Big East of many of its signature members" (AP, 5/15). NBCSPORTS.com's Kevin McGuire wrote, "Perhaps the biggest win Aresco has seen during his watch was somehow avoiding having the Big 12 come picking at the conference last fall." Big 12 expansion candidates were "believed to include a handful of AAC programs (Cincinnati, Houston, UCF, USF, Memphis), yet the Big 12 chose to not follow through with conference expansion, thus saving the AAC from being raided as the old Big East had in the past" (NBCSPORTS.com, 5/15).