It’s official! BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston will join the Big 12 Conference. The announcement comes after rumors swirled for the last week that the Big 12 was getting serious about picking up BYU and raiding the AAC.
“The Big 12 Presidents and Chancellors entered this process with the singular focus to strengthen and stabilize the Conference,” Lawrence Schovanec, Chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors, and President of Texas Tech University said in a statement. “With the addition of these four tradition-rich institutions we have set the Big 12 on a continued path of success. We look forward to having BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston under the Big 12 banner, both athletically and academically.”
As an independent school, BYU’s path to the Big 12 is pretty straight-forward, and they are expected to join for the 2023-24 football season. The timeline for the other three isn’t as clear. The AAC bylaws require a 27-month notice and a $10 million buyout to exit the conference. Although, it’s likely that an earlier exit could be negotiated for a bit more money.
“I certainly wouldn’t foreclose on any of the institutions coming in as early as July 1 [in 2023],” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.
The 2023 cannot get here soon enough as I’m looking forward to the Big 12’s future. With the new additions (and the subtractions of a couple other schools) the conference feels a lot more fun, while still being competitive at the highest levels.
Schools around the Big 12 spent Friday welcoming the conference’s newest members.