UCF to compete in Big 12, leaving AAC after next season

The University of Central Florida will compete in the American Athletic Conference for one more year before it transitions into the Big 12 Conference beginning in the 2023-2024 season.

The announcement came from UCF officials on Friday, June 10, that effective July 1, 2023, UCF’s membership in the AAC will end. The university will be joined in its move to the Big 12 by both the University of Cincinnati and the University of Houston.

“First, I would like to thank Mike Aresco and the leadership of the American Athletic Conference for its cooperation as all three schools worked through this matter over recent months,” said Terry Mohajir, UCF vice president and director of athletics.

In its nine seasons in the AAC, UCF teams have won five conference championships in volleyball and rowing, four in football, three in men’s soccer, women’s soccer and softball, two in women’s indoor track and field, women’s tennis and women’s golf and one in women’s outdoor track and field, men’s tennis and baseball.

“UCF teams in the American have produced many championships and other memorable moments. The 2022-23 athletics seasons will conclude a full decade for UCF in the AAC, and we are proud of the contributions we’ve made to grow and enhance the stature of the conference. We’re proud to participate and compete in this very competitive league for one more year. We are pleased that we were able to conclude these negotiations and now confirm our transition to Big 12 Conference membership for 2023-24.”

According to the officials, the school did not field a varsity football team until 1979. The team played at the NCAA Division III level with no scholarships for the first three years, before moving up to Division II in 1982 and becoming an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision member in 1990. The school did not play its first Division I football game until 1996, competing as part of the Mid-American Conference from 2002 to 2004, Conference USA from 2005 to 2012, and the American Athletic Conference since 2013.

Outside of football, other UCF programs have competed in the Sunshine State Conference, the American South Conference and the Sun Belt Conference, among others.

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