It is one of two conferences to emerge from the all-sports Big East in 2013.
While the other successor, which does not sponsor football, purchased the Big East Conference name, The American inherited the old Big East's structure and is that conference's legal successor.
Like the conference itself, football experienced much transition through its history – in fact it was the main force behind such departures and expansion; in 2003, the BCS announced that it would adjust the automatic bids granted to its six founding conferences based on results from 2004 to 2007. 3 in the final BCS standings, barely missing the opportunity to play for the BCS National Championship.
The American Athletic Conference (also known as The American and sometimes abbreviated AAC) is an American collegiate athletic conference, featuring 12 member universities and three associate member universities that compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Division I, with its football teams competing in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
Member universities represent a range of private and public universities of various enrollment sizes located primarily in urban metropolitan areas in the Northeastern, Midwestern, Western, and Southern regions of the United States.
Rutgers and West Virginia were offered full all-sports Big East membership in 1995, while Virginia Tech waited until 2000 for the same offer.
Temple football was kicked out after the 2004 season, but rejoined in 2012 and intended to become a full Big East member in 2013.
Prior to the 2015 season, when the conference split into two six-team divisions and created a conference championship game, The American awarded its championship to the team(s) with the best overall conference record.