Former Big East Becomes American Athletic Conference

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  The conference formally known as the Big East has been renamed the American Athletic Conference

University presidents have approved the name change beginning this year and the conference announced the decision on Wednesday.

"Versions that included the word 'American' led every list," commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement, explaining the change. "American Athletic Conference represents a strong, durable and aspirational name for our re-invented Conference."

The old Big East conference needed a new conference name because the Catholic 7 schools -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova -- kept the Big East name when they announced they were splitting and forming their new league.  They are being joined by Butler, Creighton, and Xavier beginning in July and will have a 10-team league moving forward.

In 2013, the members are: Louisville, Rutgers, Central Florida, Temple, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Cincinnati, UConn and South Florida. In 2015, what will then be a 12-team league will split into two six-team divisions, the makeup of which is still to be determined. It also will hold a conference football championship game, which will be nationally televised.

The American Athletic Conference will have Louisville and Rutgers for one full year before they depart for the ACC and Big Ten Conference respectively, beginning in 2014.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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