American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco has high hopes for the AAC, but he knows it won't be easy. On Thursday, the NCAA voted to give the Big 5 conferences -- the SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big Ten and Big 12 -- more autonomy, meaning the power to make their own rules on several issues facing its athletes and competition.
The AAC is not a Big-5 conference, which means they're again on the outside looking in. It's familiar territory for Aresco, but as he's done in the past, the commissioner continues to champion the AAC, comparing it to the bigger, richer conferences. On Thursday, he issued a statement on the conference's future in light of the Big-5 news.
"We are pleased that the NCAA Governance Redesign Model was adopted today by the NCAA Board of Directors. We extend our congratulations to Dr. Nathan Hatch and to the NCAA Steering Committee for its excellent work in designing a model that we believe will enjoy broad acceptance. We also appreciate the exemplary efforts of our NCAA Board representative, Dr. John Hitt of UCF, and our Conference Board chair, Dr. Gerald Turner of SMU, who were deeply engaged in this process.
"Our conference membership supports the new governance model and the opportunities it will present to enhance the student-athlete experience and student-athlete welfare. Our presidents and athletic directors are steadfast in their commitment to these ideals and also to providing our student-athletes with the ability to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics."
Last month, Aresco "scoffed at the team 'non-power conference' applied to' the AAC, adding: "As I look at our journey, I'm reminded of something St. Francis of Assisi said, 'You should start by doing what is necessary, then doing what is possible, then suddenly you are doing the impossible,'" Aresco said philosophically, before adding: "Michelangelo once said, 'The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.'"