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UNC Charlotte accepts invitation to American Athletic Conference

The Charlotte 49ers will depart Conference USA to begin competition in the American Athletic Conference, university officials announced.
Credit: AP
The Charlotte 49ers and the UTEP Miners line up during an extra point attempt during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte 49ers are taking another step in the ranks of college athletics, as UNC Charlotte will join the American Athletic Conference. 

The move was made official by UNC Charlotte officials Thursday, saying the 49ers will depart Conference USA at a time agreed upon by league officials. Charlotte was among the schools rumored to be joining the American in a report from Yahoo! this week. Other schools mentioned in the report included Florida Atlantic, UTSA and UAB.  

"Since UNC Charlotte's founding just 75 years ago, we have had many transformative milestones, and this is certainly one of those moments," said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. "This invitation by The American not only recognizes the accomplishments of our University and athletics program to date, but it also demonstrates belief in our rising trajectory. We are a university on the move, shaping what's next for our city, our region and beyond."

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According to Yahoo!, C-USA member schools currently receive less than $1 million in TV revenue. The 49ers are expected to get a major boost with the AAC, with the initial revenue being north of $2 million. The AAC's current deal with ESPN runs through 2031-32. 

"This is a moment of celebration for Niner Nation and the culmination of years of hard, strategic work to position us for championship-level success," Director of Athletics Mike Hill said. "As Charlotte's hometown team, our membership in The American provides us with an incredible platform to grow our program as well as share the remarkable story of our extraordinary institution and city." 

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