The school joins five other C-USA schools (Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Alabama-Birmingham and Texas-San Antonio) that will also join the AAC beginning July 1 after the schools reached an exit agreement with C-USA on Wednesday, saying they have informed their intent to leave the conference by June 15.
“Today’s announcement brings Rice Athletics a step closer to its very bright future,” Rice athletic director Joe Karlgaard said in a statement. “As we prepare for entry into the American Athletic Conference in 2023, we need all of our alumni and fans to step forward in support of our coaches and student-athletes.”
Rice received and accepted an invitation to the AAC back in October with the other five schools, weeks after the announcement that three AAC teams in Houston, Cincinnati and Central Florida announced that they would join the Big 12 Conference.
UH, Cincinnati and UCF announced last week that they reached an exit agreement with the AAC to join the Big 12 in 2023. That allowed Rice and the other five outbound C-USA schools to make their move into the AAC.
The move for Rice is a step up in revenue, as the AAC has a more lucrative media deal with ESPN than Conference USA currently does. Rice also spent $60 million in facility upgrades to get its 16 sports ready for the move up.
In the AAC, Rice will rekindle its rivalry with former Southwest Conference member SMU, along with the other Texas schools making the move to the AAC in North Texas and UTSA.
Rice was a member of C-USA since 2005 after moving from the Western Athletic Conference. The Owls were also a founding member of the SWC from its beginning in 1915 to its demise in 1996.
Rice’s football team will play its last season in C-USA this season, with the Owls first game of the season scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 3 at USC.