AAC chief Mike Aresco continues "Power Six" push
American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco's push for the league to be considered the sixth "power" conference has transcended lip service.
Now, he has unveiled a strategic plan, with a hashtag to boot: #AMERICANPOW6R
The full 24-page plan can be read here.
“Our aim as a Power Six conference is to pursue academic and athletic excellence at every level and within the context of our core values,” Aresco says in the plan.
The plan contains five "pillars." Objectives under Pillar 3 ("Academic Excellence") include a plus-.500 bowl record for AAC schools, average attendance of 70-80 percent of stadium capacity across the conference, a .500 record against "autonomy" (Power Five) conferences, and the occasional appearance of ESPN's College GameDay on AAC campuses.
Utilizing and leveraging the national TV platform afforded the league via Thursday and Friday games also remains an ongoing quest.
Of course, many will consider Aresco's Power Six push as a monetary pipe dream, considering how AAC schools simply can't match the revenue generated by their Power Five peers.
The AAC's current TV deal with ESPN -- puny compared to those of the Power Five leagues -- expires after the 2019-20 academic year, and Aresco has said the AAC will explore the possibility of an agreement with a viable online entity such as Google or Facebook.
Still, the AAC has established itself as the premier Group of Six league, evidenced by the fact that an overwhelming majority of its schools received varying degrees of interest from the Big 12 when that conference considered expansion last fall.
Moreover, the arrival of Wichita State has greatly fortified it's men's basketball brand, and it still has women's basketball's resident dynasty (Connecticut).
And in this past weekend's NFL Draft, the AAC had more players selected (15) than the Big 12 (14).
“The American Athletic Conference has enjoyed great success in many areas during its first four years of existence,” said Susan Herbst, Connecticut president and chair of the AAC board of directors.
“The league’s new strategic plan will help guide our conference in its next phase of development. College athletics is always in a pattern of change and it is important for The American to have a bold and aggressive plan as we look to the league’s future.”