• Television Appearance

The Economic Impact of Conference Realignment on Wichita and the AAC

NCAA conference realignment is churning again and college sports fans are still adapting to the major changes. In fact, changes across the Division I conferences are likely to reshape the landscape into something unimaginable and completely foreign to what they’ve known.

Shocking Moves Driven by College Football

The biggest moves are all driven by football. First, in a major shot across the realignment bow, Oklahoma and Texas announced in July that they would leave the Big 12 for the SEC in the summer of 2025.

Next, current AAC members Cincinnati, Houston and UCF accepted invitations to the Big 12 in September, and will depart the American “no later than” the 2024-25 season.  Then, the American announced it would add six former members of Conference USA: Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA,

Expert Analysis on Economic Impact of Conference Realignment from ISEG

KSN, the NBC affiliate station serving most of Kansas, needed an economics expert who could explain the situation. As a result, they turned to the experts at the Institute for the Study of Economic Growth (ISEG). On October 21, 2021, reporter Zach Martin interviewed Dr. Ted Bolema, Executive Director of ISEG, on air for a KNS TV News report. Subsequently Dr. Bolema help their audience understand the impact on Wichita’s economy and the AAC conference.

KSN’s report didn’t just examine how the so called “sticker shock” was affecting residents in the community. It also explored the root causes and whether the impact would be felt through the holiday season and beyond. Dr. Bolema explained why we are seeing record inflation locally and across the nation. He also explained to Warren why it might take some time for prices to adjust.

With the conference adding six additional teams, experts say there’s a good chance this ends up helping Wichita State in both the short and the long term.

“If anything, it should be beneficial money-wise, losing three teams and adding six,” explained Ted Bolema, WSU executive director of the study of economic growth.

Zach Martin
KSN News 3

Watch How the AAC adding six teams impacts Wichita State

Watch Dr. Bolema’s entire appearance from October 21 below or at KSN News.