On Friday, the Big 12 shared a statement announcing that BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF will join the conference as Texas and Oklahoma are set to leave for the SEC.
Big 12 presidents and chancellors put the new additions to a vote earlier today. In their subsequent statement, the conference revealed that all four schools were “approved unanimously by the eight continuing members.”
Today’s announcement is a response to Big 12 co-founders Oklahoma and Texas recently deciding to leave the conference. The two powerhouse universities will join the SEC by July 1, 2025. Since UT and OU were the premier Big 12 programs, their departure left the future of the Big 12 uncertain.
Officials from the Big 12 moved fast to secure other prominent universities to strengthen the conference. They zeroed in on the three most successful universities in the American Athletic Conference. That included Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF. In addition, they rounded the foursome out with BYU – a football-independent school without a conference.
Further, BYU announced today that it will join the Big 12 for the 2023-24 season. While BYU’s football program is independent, its other athletic programs will continue to play in the West Coast Conference, according to an ESPN report.
The conference may get a bit messy before UT and OU leave for the SEC. The AAC teams could technically leave early and begin play in the Big 12 in 2023 as well. AAC bylaws require a 27-month exit notice and a $10 million buyout. However, it is possible the schools could pay a larger buyout fee to receive an early exit. Therefore the Big 12 may temporarily inflate from 10 teams to 14 teams if the four new schools arrive before Texas and Oklahoma leave for the SEC.
SEC Welcomes Texas and Oklahoma as Newest Members of Nation’s Premier Conference
As mentioned before, the SEC approved Texas and Oklahoma joining the conference in July. Initial reports speculated about the two universities possibly leaving the Big 12. Allegedly the two schools reached out to the SEC to see if the nation’s premier football conference shared mutual interest in the move.
As things progressed in July, it was clearly evident that the move would happen. The Longhorns chose not to renew their Big 12 media rights deal, which will expire in 2025. The writing was on the wall already once officials announced their intent to not resign the deal.
Texas and Oklahoma each submitted requests to join the SEC, which was approved quickly. 11 of the 14 universities in the SEC had to vote affirmatively for the two Big 12 schools to make the move. All 14 SEC schools voted unanimously to welcome the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners in 2025. The already stacked SEC solidified its future as the unequivocal best college football conference in the nation once again with the new additions.