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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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Rice to Join The American Athletic Conference for 2023-24 Season
POSTED: June 15, 2022 -- 1:30 p.m. CT
Rice Athletics will enter a new chapter in its history on July 1, 2023, when the Owls officially join The American Athletic Conference.
The move was announced jointly on Wednesday after the Owls and five other Conference USA schools (Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, UAB, and UTSA) satisfied the requirements in the conference by-laws and informed the league of their intention to leave at the end of 2022-23 athletic calendar by the deadline of June 15.
“Today's announcement brings Rice Athletics a step closer to its very bright future,” Rice Director of Athletics, Recreation and Lifetime Fitness Joe Karlgaard said. “As we prepare for entry into the American Athletic Conference in 2023, we need all of our alumni and fans to step forward in support of our coaches and student-athletes. Only in working together can we realize our aspirations to win championships and offer the best student-athlete experience available. Let's pack the stands, join the Owl Club, and offer the encouragement and resources needed to support our Rice Owl teams to the fullest extent now and in the years to come.”
Rice received and accepted an invitation from The American to join the conference on October 21, 2021. The timeline for the move was dependent on the departure of three current members of The American (Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF). An agreement between the schools and conference was announced last week, allowing each to move to the Big XII in 2023-24.
Rice joined Conference USA at the start of the 2005-06 season after spending the previous eight years in the Western Athletic Conference. The Owls began competing in intercollegiate sports when the Rice Institute first opened its doors in 1912. Rice was a founding member of the Southwest Conference from 1915 until its dissolution at the end of the 1995-96 season.
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Over the past seven years, Rice has seen nearly $60 million in facility upgrades and new construction projects directly benefitting each of its 16 sports.
Rice fans looking to join in the excitement and support the Owls' move to The American can do so by joining the Owl Club and current members can increase their contribution and/or buy tickets to grow and expand the true student-athlete experience.
CLICK HERE for more news and info about the Rice Owls men's basketball team.
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