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UConn leaving AAC in '20, will owe $17M exit fee

UConn and the American Athletic Conference have reached an agreement for the school's departure from the league ahead of its re-entry into the Big East Conference.

The Huskies will leave on July 1, 2020, and are required to pay an exit fee of $17 million by 2026.

UConn is joining the Big East in all sports besides football, men's and women's ice hockey and rowing. The school said its football program will become an independent team beginning in the 2020 season.

"I want to thank David Benedict for his leadership and cooperation in reaching a swift and amicable resolution regarding UConn's departure, and also UConn president Susan Herbst for her support of the conference," AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said. "We appreciate UConn's accomplishments in The American, we wish them the best, and we thank them for their contributions over the past six years."

Said Benedict, who is UConn's athletic director: "Some of the finest moments in UConn athletics history came during our time as a member of the American Athletic Conference and I am grateful to The American for providing a home to many of our teams over the last six years. I would like to thank Mike Aresco and his staff for their professionalism during this process and we look forward to writing a memorable final chapter in 2019-20."

UConn was an original member of the Big East in 1979, but it left in 2013 when the league's seven basketball-focused private schools broke away to form the new Big East. The Huskies landed in the American Athletic Conference, along with former Big East members Cincinnati, Temple and South Florida. The new Big East kept DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova, while also adding Butler, Creighton and Xavier.