The American Athletic Conference has been engaged in “positive” talks with Army West Point about joining the league as a football-only member, sources tell CBS Sports. A deal could be finalized in a manner of weeks.
The Black Knights would replace SMU, which left the AAC for the ACC last week.
Army returned to being an independent in 2004 after a seven-year stint in Conference USA. It has long drawn interest from the American because of its national appeal as a military academy. Navy is already a member of the conference.
Service academies also recruit heavily in Texas and the Southeast where the American already has members.
Sun Belt power Appalachian State had also drawn interest from the American.
Army withdrew from Conference USA largely for competitive reasons. The feeling within the American is that Army has become a stronger program over the last two decades.
Under coach Jeff Monken, the Black Knights have finished ranked in the final AP Top 25 poll (2018) for only the second time since 1958. Monken, in his 10th season, is second all-time in wins at the academy with 64, trailing only the legendary Earl Blaik (121).
The majority of Army’s other sports compete in the Patriot League.
It was announced last week that SMU was joining the ACC beginning in 2024. The Mustangs had been an AAC member since the league’s inception in 2013. Army would become the recently expanded league’s 14th football member.
If the deal is struck, the traditional Army-Navy Game in December would not count as an AAC game but rather a nonconference contest, sources indicated to CBS Sports. Army, like Navy, would be eligible to play in the AAC Championship Game the preceding week.
ESPN first reported interest between the two parties.