AAC basketball logo [600x400]
AAC basketball logo [600x400] (Credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

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The American Athletic Conference has hired veteran college sports executive Tim Pernetti as the league's next commissioner, it was announced Wednesday.

Pernetti is the president of IMG Academy and has extensive experience in the college space from his time as the former athletic director at Rutgers and a strong television background. He also has professional experience from his time as a chief business officer for New York City FC of the MLS.

"It is truly an honor to be selected by the Chancellors and Presidents of the American Athletic Conference to serve as their commissioner at this important time in collegiate athletics that demands innovative leadership and consensus-driven change," Pernetti said in a statement.

Pernetti has been involved in other high-profile college searches prior to landing the AAC job. He's set to replace Mike Aresco, who retired after serving as the only commissioner in the AAC's 11-year history.

He takes over at a time that league has gone through significant transition, as it recently brought in Rice, UTSA, North Texas, FAU, UAB and Charlotte. The AAC is currently in a television contract with ESPN that runs through the 2031-32 academic year.

"Tim Pernetti is the ideal leader to guide the American Athletic Conference through this pivotal time in college athletics," Dr. Philip Rogers, chairman of the AAC's executive committee, said in a statement. "His perspective as a successful student-athlete, a respected and progressive director of athletics, and his demonstrated leadership, innovation, competitive spirit, and business acumen across a number of professional organizations make him uniquely suited to build on the success of Mike Aresco and steer the conference to a bright future."

Pernetti brings strong experience in television from early in his career. He was the first hire at CSTV, the former College Sports Television Network. He worked in various positions at ABC Sports and ABC Enhanced TV from 1994 to 2003.

Pernetti was considered among the promising young athletic directors in the sport until his resignation from Rutgers in the wake of video emerging that showed former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice's abusive behavior, which included throwing basketballs at players.

Pernetti was viewed by some as a scapegoat in the Rice incident, and he quickly reemerged in the space as a prominent executive.

His background in television, the college industry and on campus gives him the blend of experience that seemed to be sought after in commissioner roles.

The commissioner space is amid a trend of nontraditional hires, including Brett Yormark of the Big 12 and Tony Petitti of the Big Ten. (Jim Phillips of the ACC came from his job as Northwestern's athletic director.) Pernetti's background gives a bit of both.