BYU COUGARS

Big 12 Teams Welcome BYU, AAC Schools With Social Media Posts

Jun 10, 2022, 5:05 PM
BYU Cougars - Tom Holmoe - Big 12 Conference...
BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe speaks at a press conference announcing that BYU has accepted an invitation to the Big 12 Conference at BYU in Provo on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. BYU will play all sports provided by the Big 12 except for equestrian, rowing and wrestling. Men’s volleyball will continue to play in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, as the Big 12 does not offer the sport. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)
(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Eight members of the current Big 12 Conference posted 2023 welcome notes on social media for future league members in BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF.

On Friday, June 10, the American Athletic Conference announced that it reached early departure agreements with Cincinnati, UH, and UCF.

“American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco has announced that The American has reached agreements with the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Houston regarding the departure of those institutions from The American,” the AAC said in a statement.

After the agreements were reached, some of the Big 12 Conference members posted welcome messages to the BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF.

Big 12, Schools Welcome BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, UCF

Big 12 Conference

Baylor Bears

Kansas Jayhawks

Oklahoma State Cowboys

TCU Horned Frogs

TCU Athletics retweeted the Big 12’s welcome post.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

West Virginia Mountaineers

BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, UCF Joining Big 12

In September 2021, the Big 12 officially invited the four schools to join the league. Without a conference affiliation in football, BYU was able to easily accept the invite and said it would join the Big 12 in 2023. The other three schools were contracted members of the AAC and needed to reach agreements in order to leave the league early without severe penalty. According to Sam Khan Jr. of The Athletic, the three schools will each pay an $18 million exit fee to the AAC for leaving the conference.

After reaching agreements with the AAC, the three departing programs will join BYU in entering the Big 12 next summer.

The Big 12 Conference currently consists of 10 teams, but two of the members –Texas and Oklahoma– are on their way out in 2025 when they go to the SEC. So beginning the Big 12’s expansion process, to begin with. BYU and the other three invitees needed only eight votes to receive membership.

Since 2011, BYU has performed as an FBS Independent football program. Before that, BYU was a founding member of the Mountain West Conference for 11 years, and then before that, they were one of the original members of the Western Athletic Conference in the 1960s. BYU football began playing in 1922.

In all of BYU’s other sports, the Cougars have called the West Coast Conference home since 2011. BYU men’s basketball is the 18th winningest program in college basketball and has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 30 times.

The Big 12 Conference was originally formed in 1996 when the best of the Southwest Conference and Big Eight merged to form one of the top leagues in the land. Since 1996, five of the original members have left the league. Since 2012, the Big 12 has operated with 10 member institutions. Now with these additions, the Big 12 will return to its namesake of 12 member schools.

BYU has never been a member of a power conference in its history. The Big 12 Conference is expected to maintain its Power Conference label. According to ESPN, the Big 12’s Autonomous Five status was safe, even if they didn’t expand right away.

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