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Friday, May 30, 2014
AAC execs finalize two divisions

By Brett McMurphy
ESPN.com

American Athletic Conference presidents and athletic directors finalized the league's two six-team divisions Friday at the league meetings in Key Biscayne, Florida, a source told ESPN.

The two divisions begin in 2015, when Navy joins the league as a football-only member.

In 2015, the divisions will be split geographically, except Navy will in the AAC West along with Houston, Memphis, SMU, Tulane and Tulsa, a source said. The AAC East would consist of Cincinnati, UConn, UCF, East Carolina, South Florida and Temple.

"Texas is our No. 1 state for players," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo told the Advocate.com. "So we'd prefer to play at either Houston or SMU every year. No plan is perfect, and we'll be happy wherever they put us."

The league also will have a conference championship game at a campus site between the East and West Division champions.

In 2014, the AAC will be an 11-team league. The AAC adds East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa from Conference USA with Louisville moving to the ACC and Rutgers to the Big Ten.

This is the second time in the past three years the league has voted on divisions. In November 2012, the former Big East Conference planned on divisions for the 2013 season consisting of a western division (Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and Temple) and an eastern division (UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers and South Florida).

However, that divisional setup was scrapped after Boise State and San Diego State decided in the summer of 2013 not to join the league, reducing the league to 10 teams for the 2013 season.