Army to officially join American Athletic Conference in 2024 as football-only member

The American Athletic Conference is officially adding Army West Point as a football-only member.

Army, which has been an independent in football since leaving Conference USA in 2004, will begin competition in the AAC for the 2024 season. The move, which had been in the works for months, was formally approved Tuesday night by AAC commissioner Mike Aresco and the conference’s board of directors.

Army will become the AAC’s 14th member for football. The league previously lost Cincinnati, Houston and UCF to the Big 12 and will lose SMU to the ACC in 2024. Following the departures of the three schools to the Big 12, the AAC pivoted by adding six members from Conference USA — Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA.

“We are honored to welcome Army to the American Athletic Conference,” Aresco said. “Army’s football program has an iconic national brand with a legacy of success that spans more than a century and is a perfect fit with our conference.”

Though now conference mates with Navy, the annual Army-Navy game will not be counted as a conference game and will remain on its traditional date as a standalone game on the second weekend in December. However, if Army and Navy meet in the AAC title game, they would play in back-to-back weeks.

Army will also continue to play Air Force on an annual basis and will continue its TV rights partnership with CBS Sports Network through 2028 for all Black Knights’ home games. Army’s 2024 football schedule will be announced at a later date, the Academy said in a release. It will include a full slate of AAC opponents.

FORT WORTH, TX - DECEMBER 22:  A game worn Army branded helmet with Ranger tabs on display during the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl game between the Army Black Knights and the Missouri Tigers on Wednesday December 22, 2021 in Ft. Worth, Texas (Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Army has been an independent in football since 2004 but is now set to join the AAC in 2024. (Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“I am excited to start the next chapter of Army football. In today's evolving collegiate athletics landscape, it is great to partner with established, respected programs to secure the future success of Army football,” Army athletic director Mike Buddie said.

Added head coach Jeff Monken:

“I am proud to be West Point's coach as we take this step from a history of independence to conference affiliation and take on the challenges of the competition in the American Athletic Conference. Our membership in the AAC partners us with outstanding Universities and athletic programs from around the nation and will give our football program the opportunity to compete for a conference championship.”

Though Army is just 2-5 this season, Monken has built the Black Knights program into a consistent winner. Monken has a 66-54 record in 10 seasons as head coach. The Black Knights finished with a winning record five times between 2016 and 2021, including going 10-3 in 2018 and 11-2 in 2018. Army also has gone 4-1 in bowl games during Monken’s tenure as head coach.