Big 12 offers membership to BYU, UCF, Houston, Cincinnati
BYU will enter the league in 2023, while the other three schools will arrive in 2023 or 2024, commissioner Bob Bowlsby said, according to the Tulsa World's Eli Lederman.
The Big 12 began seeking new members after Texas and Oklahoma - its two marquee members - orchestrated a move to the Southeastern Conference. Both schools were excluded from Friday's vote. The Longhorns and Sooners will head to the SEC no later than in 2025.
UCF, Houston, and Cincinnati are slated to join the Big 12 by way of the American Athletic Conference, which is now in flux. Formed in 2013, the AAC quickly established itself as the premiere Group of 5 conference. BYU has athletic programs in various conferences, but it's played basketball in the West Coast Conference and has operated as an FBS independent for football.
AAC commissioner Mike Aresco emphasized the viability of his league without the three departing schools in a statement following the development:
Today's news confirms what we have said all along regarding our status as a power conference. The irony that three of our schools are being asked to take the place of the two marquee schools which are leaving the Big 12 is not lost on us. Our conference was targeted for exceeding expectations in a system that wasn't designed to accommodate our success.
All three of these institutions have enjoyed unprecedented success as members of The American, as have our remaining schools. Many of our schools have achieved competitive success similar to the departing schools. We have every expectation that the three departing schools will abide by the conference bylaws to ensure an amicable and orderly transition. We wish them continued success in the future.
Our remaining schools are unwavering in their commitment to competing and succeeding at the highest level and we will not allow external factors to put a ceiling on our potential. We remain unified and resolute and will consider all of our options as we move The American into our second decade and beyond.
The Big 12 vetted BYU, UCF, Houston, and Cincinnati in 2016 when it contemplated expansion.
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