• Behind The Lines: The Academy Football Report

How Will Realignment Affect Academy Teams?

by Behind The Lines: The Academy Football Report

The college football landscape shifted dramatically this summer with the announcement that Texas and Oklahoma were jumping from the Big-12 to the SEC in 2025.

Since then, there have been dominoes falling left and right in response to that move.

The Big-12 announced that it was adding four schools, three from Navy's home conference: the American Athletic Conference -- Houston, Central Florida & Cincinnati -- plus BYU.

Then last week, the AAC announced the addition of six new teams, all from Conference USA, which means the AAC will go from 11 football schools to 14 after the departure of UC, Houston and UCF.

"These schools make great sense for us from many different perspectives," said Mike Aresco, AAC Commissioner, when Behind The Lines caught up with him on the sidelines of the Navy-Cincinnati game, "You know, geographical sense, clearly by virtue of their location in major cities that add to our extensive media footprint will have a significant presence in four of the top 10, seven of the top 25 and 12 of the top 51 media markets."

A look at the realigned American Athletic Conference, according to an announcement by AAC on October 21, 2021, with the six new football schools that will be added to the eight schools remaining. Graphic by Jay Haiden

What does this mean for the service academies, particularly Navy? BTL went right to the source, Navy Athletic Director, Chet Gladchuk. "Well, that's one of the reasons why we joined American Athletic Conference," Gladchuk said. "In the early going was to have a foothold in Texas, and to expand now to four teams from Dallas to San Antonio, it's huge for our exposure, not only for the team in recruiting, but for alumni. We take a look at Florida, now we're in the mid-Atlantic, more so with Charlotte, we pick up Alabama. So it's really an exciting time for us to spread out."

The Midshipmen have more players from Texas than any other state, and the Lone Star State has a heavy military presence.

Watch the expanded interview with Navy Athletics Director Chet Gladchuk:

edited for web by Joe Harman