American Football Database
American West Conference
DivisionDivision I AA
Members4 (final) 5 (total)
RegionWestern United States
CommissionerVic Buccola

The American West Conference was a college athletic conference in the United States from 1993 to 1996. It consisted of schools in California and Utah. The charter members of the conference were Cal Poly - SLO, Cal State Northridge, Sacramento State, UC Davis and Southern Utah.

The conference comprised schools from the old Western Football Conference that had recently made the move from Division II to Division I. The conference was founded on July 15, 1993 as a I-AA football only conference. The members were prompted to move their programs in response to an NCAA ruling barring member institutions from competing in football at a lower level than other sports.

The only commissioner of the American West Conference was Vic Buccola who had been the athletic director at Cal Poly from 1973 to 1981, and commissioner of the Western Football Conference from 1981 to 1992.


1993–94: I-AA football only

UC Davis and Southern Utah would tie for the 1993 AWC football championship with 3–1 records.


UC Davis left the AWC after the 1993 season, leaving Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal State Northridge, Sacramento State, Southern Utah for the 1994–95 season. In the 1994–95 season, the AWC sponsored men's and women's cross country, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's track and field, and women's tennis, in addition to football. The AWC did not have an automatic bid to the NCAA championships since the NCAA requires a conference to have six teams.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo won the 1994 AWC football championship.


The 1995–96 season was the last season of the AWC. Cal Poly accepted an invitation to the Big West Conference. Cal State Northridge and Sacramento State accepted invitations to the Big Sky Conference. Southern Utah became an independent until they became members of the Mid-Continent Conference, now called the Summit League, in 1997.


Cal State Northridge left the Big Sky for the Big West in 2001. That year, they operated as a I-AA independent in football, and in 2002 their football program was dropped.

UC Davis made the decision to move up to Division I in 2003, and in 2007 they joined Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly in the Big West.

Former AWC members UC Davis, Cal Poly, and Southern Utah would later found the Great West Football Conference (later renamed the Great West Conference), along with newcomers Northern Colorado, North Dakota State, and South Dakota State from the North Central Conference, as a home for their football programs at the I-AA level in 2004. This conference remained small much like the AWC for its entire existence, ranging from only 5 to 6 football members at any given time. In late 2010, the Big Sky Conference announced it would add UC Davis and Cal Poly as football-only members, as well as Southern Utah as a full member, thus reuniting these schools with Sacramento State in football. This move effectively dissolved the Great West as a football-sponsoring conference.


Big Sky ConferenceThe Summit LeagueNCAA Division I FCS independent schoolsSouthern Utah UniversityBig Sky ConferenceCalifornia State University, SacramentoBig West ConferenceBig Sky ConferenceCalifornia State University, NorthridgeBig West ConferenceCalifornia Polytechnic State UniversityBig West ConferenceNCAA Division I FCS independent schoolsCalifornia Collegiate Athletic AssociationUniversity of California, Davis


Men's basketball

Regular season

  • 1995 Southern Utah
  • 1996 Cal Poly

Conference tournament

  • 1995 Southern Utah
  • 1996 Southern Utah


All information is from page 32 of the 1995 Cal State Northridge football media guide.