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Report: Big 12 Conference ‘Seriously Discussing BYU’ For Expansion

Aug 27, 2021, 8:50 AM | Updated: 1:31 pm
Big 12 Conference logo...
The Big 12 Conference wasn't shy about pulling out attendance numbers against the Pac-12. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – Big 12 conference expansion could be upon us again, and BYU is at the thick of the conversation.

According to a report from The Athletic, the Big 12 Conference is “seriously discussing BYU” to join their league.

According to the report, what that membership for BYU with the Big 12 would look like is still up in the air.

Big 12 Conference expansion heating up

This report comes one day after the Pac-12 Conference announced they had no intentions of expanding. The Big 12 Conference, on the other hand, needs to look to expand. Their league is dropping from 10 members to eight after the 2024-25 academic year. The two losses are, of course, are Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC.

Tom Holmoe on Conference Affiliation

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe has not issued any public statements since the Longhorns and Sooners left for the SEC. But at BYU’s annual Education Week, an event for paying attendees to hear from various speakers at BYU, Holmoe did acknowledge the move surprised everyone in college athletics.

“When we’re talking about conference affiliation, which obviously with Texas and Oklahoma going to the SEC, it shook up the whole country,” Holmoe said on August 18, 2021. “Everybody in the country now should be thinking, ‘okay, where does that leave us? What do we do, what can we do?’ And those are questions that every school is asking themselves. They’re looking at their leagues, and they’re trying to strengthen their conference. …But I know that talking to many ADs around the country, everybody’s in the same position.”

BYU is currently entering its 11th year as an FBS Independent. When BYU left the Mountain West Conference in 2011, they wanted to use Independence as a springboard to a power conference.

Since being an Independent has allowed BYU to show off its national fan base by playing “Coast to Coast football” and highlighting its partnership with ESPN, currently the biggest power broker in college football. BYU is in the second year of a new six-year deal that runs through 2026 with ESPN.

The Athletic’s report states that BYU would bring value to a newly formed Big 12 involving the Cougars. “The last time we went through an exercise, that’s the one school the consultants were saying added value to our current TV contracts,” one Big 12 AD told The Athletic.

What’s next?

The Big 12 expansion subgroup meets with the Big 12 Presidents on Friday to discuss their next steps after the Pac-12’s decision not to expand. Then next week, the Big 12’s subgroup will meet with their TV partners about expansion possibilities.

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

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