The Shockers were admitted in a unanimous vote of the AAC's board of directors and will begin play at the start of the 2017-18 academic year.
Wichita State has accepted the invitation.
According to ESPN, the vote to include Wichita was no doubt due to the Kansas school's basketball program.
They have made the NCAA Tournament every season since 2012, highlighted by a Final Four appearance in 2013 and a Sweet 16 in 2015.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, banners recognizing nine Missouri Valley Conference schools remained in the rafters of Koch Arena.
First reported by CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein, the Crusaders and Racers are likely to be courted by the MVC's brass in hopes of creating an 11-team league with a home-and-away schedule of 20 conference games.
The current Missouri Valley lineup, without the Shockers: Missouri State, Drake, Northern Iowa Southern Illinois, Illinois State, Indiana State, Evansville, Bradley and Loyola.
The AAC makes a natural fit for Wichita State, as the conference now sits at 11 members - Houston, Memphis, Tulsa, Tulane, SMU, Temple, South Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Central Florida as well as football-only Navy - and the addition of the Shockers would round out the conference at 12 members, and ideal number to create conference divisions.
Led by coach Gregg Marshall, the Shockers are one of only five teams to win at least one NCAA tournament game in each of the past five years.
WSU, which had been in the Missouri Valley since 1945, brings a perennially strong men's basketball program, which is the impetus of the move.
But for the Shockers, it was a move that they had to make if they want to continue to evolve as a program. RealRPI.com ranked the American seventh among 32 conferences behind the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Southeastern Conference and Pac-12.
AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said he is pleased with his conference's expansion.
"I'm very proud to say that since my time sitting in the Director of Athletics' chair, the President has told me to do one thing, and that was on day one: to get us into the American Athletic Conference". Wichita, 17-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference, has also been hindered by a comparatively weak conference. The team did go to Barack Obama's White House after its 2009 tournament title. AAC members are Houston, Memphis, Tulsa, Tulane, SMU, Temple, South Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina and Central Florida. The NCAA annually distributes money to conferences based on their recent performance in the NCAA tournament.