The Big 12 Conference is expected to add the BYU Cougars, Cincinnati Bearcats, Houston Cougars, and UCF Knights to their membership by the end of next week, according to a report by Sports Illustrated.
The move comes following the announcement that the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns will leave the Big 12 for the SEC beginning in 2025.
Per the report, all four schools are expected to apply for admission into the Big 12 next week and then could be “…approved for admission in a meeting of Big 12 presidents Sept. 10.”
If accepted, BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF would join the Big 12 for the 2023 season, or, at the latest, for the 2024 season. That would create an overlap with Oklahoma and Texas still in the conference resulting in a 14-team league for two to three seasons.
The timeline is fluid and has been described as optimistic, but not unrealistic. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has even gone on site visits, most recently taking a trip to meet with Houston officials on Thursday.
It’s possible that Oklahoma and Texas could negotiate an earlier exit from the Big 12, but that would come at a huge cost due to each school breaking the league’s grant-of-rights agreement and a separate long-term agreement “…that conference members established several years ago.”
The departure of Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF from the American Athletic Conference would leave the league with eight schools. The conference would likely need to add another school in order to play a round-robin eight-game football schedule.
BYU is a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Independent. Their other sports play in the West Coast Conference.
Should the Cougars join the Big 12, a bevy of non-conference games on their future schedules would be canceled. Most, if not all, of those contracts contain a provision that voids the agreement if BYU joins a conference.
- Future BYU Football Schedules
- Future Cincinnati Football Schedules
- Future Houston Football Schedules
- Future UCF Football Schedules