Proud to be in the American: Tulane Begins a New Era in the American Athletic Conference

July 1, 2014

Proud to be in The American

Paige Callahan

Matt Braud

Lorenzo Doss

Kajon Mack

Annie Shurtz

Lisa Stockton

Mark Booras

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American Website

NEW ORLEANS - The dawn of a new chapter in the 121-year history of Tulane Athletics begins today with the Green Wave's official entrance into the American Athletic Conference, marking the sixth conference for Tulane since 1895.

Tulane Athletics sets sail into a new era with one of the most anticipated milestone events in school history. Green Wave teams will now play in some of Tulane's largest alumni cities, will receive an unprecedented amount of television exposure with the American's partnership with both the ESPN and CBS networks and will compete among some of the nation's top teams in conference play.

Along with Tulane, East Carolina and Tulsa also became official members of the American today. The American will now be comprised of 11 member institutions: UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, USF, SMU, Temple, Tulane and Tulsa in 2014-15. Navy will join as a 12th football member in 2015.

"This is beginning of a new era for Tulane Athletics as we move into an exciting and vibrant league which demonstrated smashing successes in its inaugural year," Tulane Director of Athletics Rick Dickson said. "The exposure and visibility it will bring to Tulane and our programs is unprecedented. Tulanians around the country will be able to follow Tulane sports like never before. Our student-athletes, coaches and staff have worked tirelessly for this opportunity and join with our fans everywhere in launching this new day."

"We are proud to welcome Tulane University to the American Athletic Conference," Commissioner Mike Aresco said. "Tulane is one of the premier academic institutions in the nation and has demonstrated a commitment to competing at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics. They will make great contributions to our conference."

Today's move marks the end of a 19-year run for the Green Wave in Conference USA, where it won 41 league titles. Since its first season of sponsoring intercollegiate athletics in 1893, Tulane has been a part of six conferences, beginning with the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association from 1895-1921. The Wave was also a member of the Southern Conference (1922-32) and was a charter member of the Southeastern Conference (1933-65), the Metro Conference (1975-85; 1989-95) and Conference USA (1995-2013).

The American will feature two divisions of six teams each, beginning with the 2015 football season, and culminating in the first American championship game. The East Division will include UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, USF and Temple. The West Division will consist of Houston, Memphis, Navy, SMU, Tulane and Tulsa. The division winners will play for the conference title at the home site of the highest ranked divisional champion.

The two-division format will come on the heels of a remarkable debut for The American in 2013 and what promises to be an equally successful 2014 campaign. The American was one of three FBS conferences - along with the Big Ten Conference and the SEC - that had two 12-win teams in 2013, including UCF, which went 12-1 and defeated Big 12 Conference champion Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

The American boasts an association with two of the most prestigious media organizations in sports - ESPN and CBS Sports. Those agreements will give the newly branded conference and its members an unprecedented exposure on the nation's leading sports platforms.

The American entered into a multiyear, wide-ranging television contract with ESPN to telecast its football, basketball and Olympic sports. The contract will run through 2019-20.

In football, the new contract will provide unprecedented national coverage for the league. In essence, the extensive national television coverage replaces previous syndication and local telecasts. All conference controlled games, which are conference games and non-conference home games, will be televised. Nearly 90 percent of the games will be carried on national broadcast or national cable.

The conference championship game, which is expected to begin in 2015, will be carried by ABC or ESPN on Championship Saturday.

In men's basketball, all conference controlled games will be televised. More than 63 percent of the games will be carried on national broadcast or national cable, which will be a minimum of 107 games. The entire conference postseason basketball tournament will be on national television. The championship game will be televised on ABC or ESPN.

In women's basketball, there is tremendous national and regional coverage. Nearly 60 games will be televised on national cable, regional sports networks and ESPN3, including the entire women's basketball postseason tournament. Eighteen regular-season games will be televised nationally. The women's basketball tournament championship game will be on ESPN or ESPN2. The semifinals also will be on national cable.

In Olympic sports, numerous championship contests will be televised nationally.

The CBS Sports partnership with the American includes up to 12 appearances per season. Half of the appearances each season will be conference games.

In its brief history, the American has already made its mark at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics. In 2013-14, UCF defeated Baylor to win the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl for a historic victory in the final year of the Bowl Championship Series. The Knights finished the season 12-1 and were ranked No. 10 in the final Associated Press poll.

In addition to its NCAA title in men's basketball, UConn won the national championship in women's basketball, capping a 40-0 season with its ninth NCAA championship. The American is the only conference with a BCS victory and teams in both the men's and women's Final Four and a participant in the College World Series (Louisville) in 2013-14.

Six of the 11 teams in the American have been ranked in the top 25 of the BCS standings since 2008, including UCF (2010, 2013), Cincinnati (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), UConn (2008), Houston (2009, 2011), Tulsa (2008) and USF (2008, 2009), while four of the 11 teams have earned top-10 rankings in the BCS since the 1998 season, including Cincinnati (No. 3 - 2009), Houston (No. 6 - 2011), USF (No. 2 - 2007) and Tulane (No. 10 - 1998).

Six of the 11 teams in 2014-15 have reached the NCAA Final Four (Cincinnati, UConn, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Temple). Two American schools have won the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship a combined six times. Cincinnati won in 1961 and 1962, while UConn claimed the title in 1999, 2004, 2011 and 2014. Including UConn's appearance in 2014, schools in the American line-up in 2014-15 have made a combined 22 Final Four appearances.

The American's official social media handles can be found at www.TheAmerican.org/social, and includes Facebook: www.Facebook.com/AmericanConf, Twitter: www.Twitter.com/American_Conf @American_MBB, @American_WBB, @American_FB, AmericanXCTrack, American_VBall, American_Swim, American_Tenn, American_MWGolf, American_BSB, Instagram: www.Instagram.com/American_Conf and YouTube: www.youtube.com/AmericanAthleticConf.

The American conference headquarters are located in Providence, R.I. The location of the conference headquarters - just steps from the city's Amtrak station and 10 minutes from T.F. Green International Airport - gives the conference easy access to its member schools.

Season tickets for Tulane football's inaugural season in the American and in its new on campus home- Yulman Stadium- can be purchased online at www.YulmanStadium.com, in the Tulane Team Shop Ticket Office in the James W. Wilson Jr. Center, which is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by calling 504-861-WAVE (9283). Available season ticket packages start as low as $200.