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AAC commissioner retiring after long championing for leagues outside Power 5

Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox / Getty Images Sport / Getty

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Mike Aresco is retiring as commissioner of the American Athletic Conference at the end of the current academic year on May 31, after serving during a period of constant change in college athletics while championing for his and other leagues outside the Power Five.

Aresco became the fourth commissioner of the Big East Conference in 2012, and oversaw the reconstitution of that organization into the American Athletic Conference a year later. He announced his retirement Thursday.

“It would take many pages to list this conference’s numerous athletic and academic accomplishments,” Aresco said in a statement. “There have also been some disappointments and difficulties along the way, most notably, the P5-G5 divide, realignment, College Football Playoff access for our deserving teams, and some competitive heartbreak in big games.”

Aresco described it as a “the supreme privilege of my long career in sports” to lead the American from its reinvention and to represent its student-athletes, coaches and administrators.

Before joining the Big East for its transition, Aresco was executive vice present of programming at CBS Sports. He had joined the network in 1996 after 12 years with ESPN, where the University of Connecticut Law School graduate began as counsel and moved into programming.

East Carolina Chancellor Philip Rogers, chair of the league’s board of directors, said Aresco has been a strong, steady and innovative commissioner.

“There is no question that he will leave the AAC well-positioned for future success due to his strategic approach to navigating the complex landscape of intercollegiate athletics,” Rogers said.


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