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UNC Charlotte to join American Athletic Conference

The date when Charlotte will depart Conference USA and begin competition in The American will be determined by league officials.
Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 10:38 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - UNC Charlotte has accepted an invitation to join the American Athletic Conference, university officials announced Thursday.

The date when Charlotte will depart Conference USA and begin competition in The American will be determined by league officials, a press release stated.

“Since UNC Charlotte’s founding just 75 years ago, we have had many transformative milestones, and this is certainly one of those moments,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “This invitation by The American not only recognizes the accomplishments of our university and athletics program to date, but it also demonstrates belief in our rising trajectory. We are a university on the move, shaping what’s next for our city, our region and beyond.”

University officials touted success the Charlotte 49ers also had in 2020-21 both on the court and field and in the classroom, which included:

· Four programs participated in NCAA postseason tournaments.

· The 49ers won league championships in men’s cross country, baseball, men’s indoor track and field, and men’s outdoor track and field.

· The 49ers posted runner-up finishes in men’s soccer, women’s cross country, women’s indoor track and field, and women’s soccer.

· The 49ers’ 3.53 average league finish was the best in C-USA in the 49ers’ 18 sports.

· Charlotte’s top 100 finish in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics’ Directors’ Cup was its best since 2007.

· 49er student-athletes led Conference USA in academic honors with 109 earning Commissioner’s Medals (3.75 GPA) and 333 being named to the Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll (3.0 GPA).

“This is a moment of celebration for Niner Nation and the culmination of years of hard, strategic work to position us for championship-level success,” Director of Athletics Mike Hill said. “As Charlotte’s hometown team, our membership in The American provides us with an incredible platform to grow our program as well as share the remarkable story of our extraordinary institution and city.”

Charlotte joins existing American Athletic Conference members Southern Methodist University, Temple University, Tulane University, the U.S. Naval Academy, the University of Memphis, the University of South Florida, the University of Tulsa and Wichita State University along with an in-state rival, East Carolina University. Florida Atlantic University, Rice University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of North Texas and the University of Texas at San Antonio, which will also move with Charlotte to The American.

UNC Charlotte initially joined Conference USA as a charter member from 1995 to 2005, according to the university. After an eight-year stint in the Atlantic 10 Conference, Charlotte returned to C-USA in 2013.

The 49ers’ football program began competition in the league in 2015. At the Division I level, Charlotte has also been a member of the Metro Conference (1991-1995) and the Sun Belt Conference (1976-1991).

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