American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco confirmed to the Philadelphia Inquirer during Saturday's SMU-Temple game that the AAC has received a waiver from the NCAA and will continue to hold its conference championship game in football in 2020 and 2021. The future of the conference championship game had been in doubt since UConn announced in June that it will leave the AAC following the 2019-20 academic year.
"It's really a relief that this got done," Aresco said. "The conference championship is so important to the league."
Aresco said that divisions will be dissolved in the 11-team format, with the top two teams meeting for the AAC title. He also said that the conference will continue to play eight conference games and four non-conference games.
UConn's abrupt decision to leave left the conference in a bind. The NCAA deregulated conference championship game rules in 2015. Conferences can now hold a championship game pitting the top two teams provided they play a round-robin schedule -- as the Big 12 currently does. With 11 teams, that'd be challenging for the AAC. Prior to 2015, conferences had to have at least 12 members and be divided up into divisions.
The first AAC Championship Game was played following the 2015 season, and has been contested every year since. It is played at the home stadium of the team with the best conference record.