The ASUN Conference and Western Athletic Conference (WAC) football partnership announced today that it has rebranded as the United Athletic Conference.
Entering its third year as a formal football partnership but first as a single entity, the United Athletic Conference now fully operates like a single-sport conference with an independent budget, policies, and governing documents. The group will recognize its own league champion with an FCS playoffs automatic qualifier under a singular conference banner beginning with the 2023 football season.
The two formed new FCS football-playing conferences in January of 2021. They combined in the fall of 2021 in their first seasons to earn instant auto-bid status into the FCS playoffs, calling it the AQ7. It was expected to be a one-year partnership before they split and had their own AQs in 2022. But due to realignment and losing members, the joint league returned in 2022 for one auto-bid.
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2023 membership includes: Abilene Christian University, Austin Peay State University, University of Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky University, University of North Alabama, Southern Utah University, Stephen F. Austin State University, Tarleton State University, and Utah Tech University. The conference will officially add the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) in the fall of 2025 when it begins sponsorship of football.
The governance structure of the United Athletic Conference features co-chairs of the Council of Presidents, Dr. James Hurley from Tarleton State University and Dr. David McFaddin from Eastern Kentucky University. Also included in the leadership is Executive Director Oliver Luck, WAC Commissioner Brian Thornton, and outgoing ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart, with incoming ASUN Commissioner Jeff Bacon officially joining upon Gumbart’s retirement at the conclusion of the 2022-23 academic year.
The 2023 United Athletic Conference schedule will be limited to six conference games among its nine members. The 2024 schedule will feature a full eight-game single round robin.
A full conference rollout including official marks, an official website and more information will be released in the coming months.