At the end of July I followed the sports Twitter rumors about the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma (two truly wretched programs) potentially leaving the Big 12 Conference for spots in the SEC. Today, the Big 12 announced four new program additions joining no later than the 2024-2025 season. BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston were extended membership invitations that they quickly accepted. All four of these program additions have succeeded in their individual capacities over the past several years, particularly in football and men’s basketball seasons. I’m most excited to watch Baylor play BYU and UCF as so many talented Hawaiʻi and kānaka athletes have played for these schools! I anticipate watching the Bears compete against both the original Big 12 members and now these fresh programs will be exciting and anxiety-inducing for Baylor fans in the coming years.
Baylor Vice President and Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades said, “Today the Big 12 Conference has solidified its continued place as a Power 5 conference with the additions of BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston. The overall athletic achievements of these four universities have proven their ability to compete at the highest levels, most notably in football and men’s basketball. This expansion creates greater visibility and extends the conference’s footprint into three new states. We look forward to welcoming each of these institutions into the Big 12 family while working collectively for the shared future of the conference.” Baylor President Linda Livingstone added, “We are extremely excited to welcome BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston into the Big 12 Conference. Athletics plays such a key role in the student and alumni experience on each of our campuses. In a period of a few short weeks, we have moved from a period of great uncertainty in the Big 12 to a bright, united future as a 12-team league competing at the highest levels beginning in 2025.”