Big 12 Reportedly Planning For 14-Team League Beginning In 2023

Jan 18, 2022, 10:59 AM | Updated: 11:04 am
Big 12 Conference logo...
LAWRENCE, KS - OCTOBER 31: A view of the Big 12 logo before a football game between the Iowa State Cyclones and Kansas Jayhawks on October 31, 2020 at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, KS. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – How the Big 12 Conference will come together when BYU joins the league is starting to come together.

Dennis Dodd from CBS Sports reports that the Big 12 is “engaged in plans to split into two seven-team divisions beginning in 2023.” Of course, it’s already known that BYU will be joining in 2023, but a league of 14 teams would also mean that the three AAC universities (UCF, Cincinnati, Houston) will enter that same year.

The 14-team league would also include Texas and Oklahoma for two years. UT and OU are signed to their Big 12 Grant of Rights through the conclusion of the 2024-25 academic year. Leaving the conference that they founded early could result in exit fees of nine figures for the power brands that are moving on to the SEC in 2025.

The three AAC teams have Grant of Rights to 2023-24. Therefore, they would need an early exit from the AAC to get into the 14-team Big 12 for the 2023 season.

NCAA rules require divisions if a conference has more than 12 teams.

After the Longhorns and Sooners leave for the SEC in 2025, the league headquartered in Dallas will return to its namesake of 12 teams. However, according to Dodd, the new divisions in 2023 could split Texas and Oklahoma, so there would be no interruption to the remaining members of the new iteration of the league that will include BYU.

The projection of divisions by CBS Sports included the old “North” and “South” division monikers in the Big 12, with BYU settling into the North division alongside Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.

Big 12 South division projection includes Baylor, Houston, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, UCF, and West Virginia.

The conversations surrounding division play began back in October, according to Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby in an interview with KSL Sports.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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