Back in September 2021, news of fresh additions to the Big 12 Conference was announced (I wrote about it here!) following the soon-to-be departure of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC. With the Big 12 losing two so-called big money teams to create a super conference, the former would add BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston no later than the 2024-2025 season. All four of the program additions have succeeded in their individual capacities over the past several years, particularly in football and men’s basketball seasons, which will keep the conference in its current standing as one of the most successful in the country.
When the four schools were announced as members of the new Big 12, 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.”
BYU immediately stated their intention of joining the conference (they’re currently independent) during the 2023-2024 athletic season, but the three remaining teams didn’t pull together an arrangement to exit the AAC Conference until a few days ago. Max Olson of The Athletic tweeted that sources shared the remaining teams agreed to hop in the Big 12 next summer. Of course we’re not privy to any other information about scheduling impacts, conference expansion details, etc, but at least Baylor and other Big 12 fans alike have much to look forward to next season!