Breaking Up Is Hard to Do – Leaving the AAC Is Expensive

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have heard that every school outside the Power Five is more or less desperate to join their ranks. Whether you like it or not, soon there will be five or fewer major conference conglomerates held together by the glue of college football revenue, irrespective of geography or logic. The Big 12 is the latest bachelorette, flirting with the idea of intergalactic expansion. And the Big 12 has been teasing and tormenting the AAC and Mountain West as only your favorite crush in high school could do.

So this begs the question Bearcat Nation – how do you leave the AAC?

  • A school is required to give advance written notice of 27 months before leaving or face significant fines. Just look at the $20 million ransom West Virginia University paid to leave the Big East early.
  • Conference bylaws require a $10 million payment to depart, regardless of timing.

There is always room for compromise and negotiation, and much like schools do when they steal each other’s coaches, the Big 12 may even be willing to pay some of the fees incurred by any schools joining the Big 12. Whether the conference will expand and whether they will add two or even four teams is anyone’s guess. However, it does appear BYU and Cincinnati are the two candidates most likely to be added, if and when, the Big 12 ever truly commits to expanding.

With all of the hurdles in mind, if UC or another AAC school gets to join the Big 12 (such as Houston, Memphis, UCF, or even USF) it will be difficult to make the switch in 2018, let alone 2017.

By Andy Smith

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