David Benedict

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UConn will pay $17 million to leave AAC after 2019 season, be FBS independent

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As expected, UConn will no longer be a member of the American Athletic Conference effective after the 2019-2020 sports seasons. The Big East-bound university and AAC agreed on the terms of a buyout that will allow the Huskies to leave the conference in all sports after the upcoming season.

UConn will pay the AAC a total of $17 million by 2026, although it is reported the school will pay a large chunk of the buyout fee over the next two years. The agreement comes after the remaining American Athletic Conference members voted to terminate UConn’s membership with the AAC beginning July 1, 2020 (the typical date for conference realignment changes to take effect).

“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 in a released statement on Friday. “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.”

UConn is reuniting with their old Big East family in all sports but football. The Huskies will move forward as an FBS independent program with no conference currently extending an invitation to join and no conferences showing any public interest in doing so at the time. The Huskies are also working feverishly to fill the 2020 schedule and other future schedules now that they will be independent with plenty of vacancies to fill on the schedule.

It was previously reported the AAC will not look to expand its membership and will remain with 11 football members beginning in 2020.

UConn relieves Bob Diaco of head coaching duties

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Well, at least UConn waited until after Christmas Day to ruin the holiday season for Bob Diaco. The school announced this morning Diaco has been relieved of his head coaching responsibilities in Storrs, effective January 2.

“I believe a new leader for our program and student-athletes is needed to build long-term success,” UConn Director of Athletics David Benedict said in a released statement. “I am grateful to Coach Diaco and his staff for their hard work and the integrity with which they ran the program and certainly wish them future success.”

Diaco, a former Notre Dame defensive coordinator, was hired by UConn following the 2013 season. In three seasons, Diaco’s Huskies went 11-26, including a 3-9 mark this past season. Diaco also caught heat for manufacturing a rivalry and trophy game series with UCF, without UCF knowing a thing about it.

The UConn vacancy is a late addition to the coaching carousel this season, but it is one worth keeping an eye on.namesf the popular names already floating around the rumor mill is Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, a former Fordham head coach. The timing feels weird for a coach firing too, which might suggest UConn already has a replacement ready to step in. Whether that would be Moorhead or not remains to be seen as of now.