The recent phase of college football conference realignment has taken another turn as the American Athletic Conference voted to add the U.S. Military Academy, according to multiple reports.
Army will join the AAC as a football-only member starting in the 2024 season.
The AAC was looking to plug in a new member for football after the bombshell announcement that SMU will leave the conference to join the ACC, which will also take Stanford and Cal starting in the 2024 football season.
Army has been an independent in football since it left Conference USA in 2004, but has been in the AAC’s sights as a potential future member owing to its reputation as a military academy. Navy, Army’s principal rival, is a member of the AAC.
The most important thing for Army from a football perspective would be to preserve its long-time rivalry with Navy and to play the Midshipmen in their final regular season game every year, a date typically held open in early December solely for that game after the rest of the college football regular season concludes.
It is believed that the Army vs. Navy game would be a non-conference game even as the Black Knights join the AAC.
Should the rivals finish as the top two teams in the conference at season’s end, they would play each other in back-to-back weeks, for the AAC title and in the traditional regular season meeting in early December.