Big 12 Conference Approves Expansion With BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF

Torrey Hart
by Torrey Hart 1

September 10th, 2021 AAC, Big 12, College, News

The Big 12 is officially poised to add BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and the University of Central Florida to its ranks just over a week after it indicated it was planning to expand. Presidents and chancellors from the eight other continuing members unanimously approved the additions in a vote on Friday, and all four schools accepted their invitations shortly thereafter, the conference announced.

The new teams are expected to join the conference by the 2024-25 season at the latest — BYU, which is an independent school in football — will join for the 2023-24 season. The news comes less than two months after powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma announced they are leaving the Big 12 for the SEC by July 2025, so there could be a couple of years of overlap with the new teams, leading to a temporary 14-team league.

UCF, Houston and Cincinnati are currently all part of the American Athletic Conference. The schools are required to give 27-month notice should they want to exit, and would each pay a $10 million exit fee. If they were to leave sooner, they could pay an increased penalty. (BYU is in the West Coast Conference for sports other than football).

Cincinnati and BYU each sponsor men’s and women’s teams in swimming & diving, while Houston sponsors a women’s-only team. UCF doesn’t have a swimming & diving program.

The Big 12’s decision to add teams comes shortly after the Pac-12 Conference announced that it is not seeking to expand from its current 12-school membership.

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Dark Iron Gains
1 year ago

On the men’s side this merge would have been great for athletes like Josue Dominguez and Blake Hanna who put up elite times at small conference meets and don’t really tap into their full potential come NCAAs. While Texas certainly does fine without a big conference meet, they could gauge their performances against their All American teammates – that’s just something that these smaller college guys don’t have.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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