American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said Tuesday that if a group of schools seeks to form a so-called "Division IV" of the NCAA, that his league's schools "expect to be a part of it."
Tulane will join The American next season.
"Whatever the highest level of Division I is in the future, we expect to be part of it," Aresco said in his opening comments of The American's football media day in Newport, R.I. "And if a fourth division materializes, and of course we do not know whether that will happen, there are many issues attached to it that obviously have to be vetted. The American Athletic Conference belongs in it. Not because we say we do, but because the empirical indices say we do.
"Whether it's the size of our athletic budgets or our athletic revenues, whether it's ... our football results on the field, whether it's the size and importance of our markets, and we have very significant markets as you know in our conference, whether it's the heritage of our being a BCS conference, whether it's the heritage of other schools who participated in the old Southwest Conference when it would have been considered a BCS conference, whether it's the alignment of our goals with those of the conferences that are being called the power five conferences, whether it's the size of our stadiums, our attendance, our investment in facilities."
Aresco specifically cited Tulane's under-construction Yulman Stadium, along with the new stadium being built at the University of Houston.
"All these measurements separate us and put us above the line and, in my opinion and in the opinion of many, into the power group of conferences," Aresco said.
View the full transcript of Aresco's news conference here.
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