Sources: UConn expected to rejoin Big East

UConn is expected to leave the American Athletic Conference and return to the Big East for basketball and other sports in 2020, sources told ESPN.

Nothing is official at this point, but an announcement could come as early as next week, sources said. The UConn board of trustees has not yet voted on the move, but approval is expected, even with UConn set to change presidents in August.

The biggest remaining question surrounds what happens with UConn's football team. The Big East does not have football, and it's unlikely UConn would remain in the American with just football, sources told ESPN. Sources said the football program is expected to play in the American in 2019, but could go independent after that or join another conference.

Conference bylaws require UConn to pay a $10 million withdrawal fee and give 27 months' notice before leaving.

In a statement Saturday, the school said it is "our responsibility to always be mindful of what is in the best interest of our student athletes, our fans and our future. With that being said, we have been and remain proud members of the American Athletic Conference."

UConn was an original member of the Big East, beginning in 1979, but had to find a new conference when the league's basketball-focused private schools -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova -- broke away in 2013.

Fellow Big East members Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Rutgers all soon joined other conferences, leaving UConn, Cincinnati, Temple and South Florida to play in the newly formed American with UCF, Houston, Memphis, SMU, East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa.

UConn football had earned a spot in the Fiesta Bowl following the 2010 season as a member of the Big East, but the Huskies have gone just 28-69 since joining the American. Meanwhile, UConn's women's basketball team, among the nation's most prominent programs, has been virtually unchallenged, going 102-0 in conference play and 18-0 in the league tournament in six years.

The men's basketball team, which won four national championships between 1999 and 2014, had its lowest attendance numbers in 30 years during the 2017-18 season, according to the Hartford Courant.

In January, UConn reported a more than $40 million gap in its athletic department budget after the football program lost $8.7 million, men's basketball $5 million and women's basketball more than $3 million in 2018.

UConn expressed displeasure in March when the American and ESPN announced a new 12-year television contract designed to increase revenue to the league's schools while putting many of its games on the ESPN+ digital platform.

The new deal with ESPN kicks in in 2020-21, and does not change if the AAC has only 11 football teams, but the conference will explore bringing in a new member to stay at an even and more manageable 12, according to The Associated Press.

A possibility for the American in replacing UConn would be to add Army or Air Force as a football-only school, as it currently has with Navy, and then add a successful basketball program. Army has been reluctant to join a conference and give up control of its schedule.

UConn's pending move was first reported by the Digital Sports Desk.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.