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Tim Pernetti Named AAC Commissioner

IRVING, Texas – The American Athletic Conference Board of Directors today announced that Tim Pernetti has been named the second commissioner of the American Athletic Conference. His tenure will begin in June. He succeeds Mike Aresco, who has served as commissioner of the American Athletic Conference since the reconstitution of the conference in 2013.

Pernetti is a respected, veteran leader who brings over three decades of sports, business and media leadership to the American Athletic Conference. He served as president of IMG Academy, executive vice president of the global sports and entertainment company, Endeavor, president of IMG College and executive vice president, content, CBS College Sports.

The national search for the second American Athletic Conference commissioner was led by the American Athletic Conference Board Executive Committee, which is chaired by Chancellor of East Carolina University, Dr. Philp Rogers, and included University of Tulsa President Brad Carson, University of South Florida President Rhea Law, Tulane University President Michael Fitts, University of Alabama at Birmingham President Ray Watts and University of North Carolina at Charlotte President Sharon Gaber. East Carolina University Director of Athletics Jon Gilbert and University of Memphis Deputy Athletic Director Lauren Ashman were also members of the search committee. TurnkeyZRG, a leading talent recruitment firm in sports, entertainment, music, and media, assisted the American Athletic Conference Presidents and Chancellors in their national search. TurnkeyZRG conducted a comprehensive and inclusive recruitment process that delivered a diverse slate of potential candidates from within collegiate athletics, professional sports, media, business, and more. 

"Tim Pernetti is the ideal leader to guide the American Athletic Conference through this pivotal time in college athletics," said Rogers. "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."

"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. "I am fired-up to work alongside our board, conference staff, athletics directors and coaches as we continue to transform the AAC into a bold collegiate conference enterprise that promotes world-class academic and athletic opportunities for our student-athletes through innovative resources, brand partnerships and emerging opportunities. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and, alongside our conference community, get to work."

Pernetti comes to the American Athletic Conference after serving as president of IMG Academy, the world's leading sports education brand anchored by its 600-acre campus in Bradenton, Florida, providing intentional personal development opportunities for student-athletes through its boarding school, sport camps and college recruiting services. Pernetti served as chief operating officer since 2020 and was promoted to president in 2022. He oversaw a $100M capital expansion of IMG Academy and is the architect of the agreement that brought the 2020 WNBA season to Bradenton during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was part of the executive team that sold IMG Academy for $1.25B to EQT in 2023.

"I have known Tim for a long time, and he is a superb choice to lead this conference," said Aresco. "He has all the qualities and skills to advance the goals of the conference and take it to greater heights. I applaud the search committee, led by Philip Rogers, for its thoroughness and ability to deliver an outstanding new commissioner. I could not be more pleased for Tim and for the conference and look forward to making the transition as seamless as possible."

Before taking his position at IMG Academy, Pernetti spent five years at Endeavor, a global sports and entertainment company, most recently as executive vice president where he oversaw North American business development and growth management in sports, music, events, arts and exhibitions.

Pernetti also served as the president of IMG College from 2015 to 2018, where he oversaw a staff of nearly 1,000 in the administration of multimedia, sponsorship, marketing rights, and licensing of intellectual property and other revenue generating businesses for more than 200 college and university partners. His leadership positioned IMG College for its merger with Learfield in 2018.

Pernetti launched the 20th franchise into Major League Soccer as the chief business officer for New York City Football Club in 2015. He served as director of intercollegiate athletic athletics at Rutgers University from 2009-13. During his tenure at Rutgers, he was appointed to the Big East Conference expansion committee and television and media rights task force. Pernetti designed, negotiated, and completed the historic agreement to join the Big Ten Conference in 2012.

Before his appointment at Rutgers, Pernetti was executive vice president, content, for CBS College Sports from 2006-09, and was senior vice president, programming and talent, for CSTV from 2003-06. He was part of the executive team that sold CSTV to CBS Television in 2006 and served as the executive in charge of acquisitions, content and programming strategy. Pernetti also spent 10 years at ABC Television, including six as director of programming for ABC Sports and four as director of programming and production for ABC's Enhanced TV group.

Pernetti holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Rutgers, where he was a four-year letter-winner on the Scarlet Knight football team. He was a 2008 recipient of Sports Business Journal's Forty Under 40 award and was a finalist for that publication's Athletic Director of the Year award in 2013.

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