BYU Athletics Officially Receives Invitation To Big 12 Conference
PROVO, Utah – The long wait for BYU athletics to receive a power conference invite is over. On Friday, the Big 12 Conference officially invited BYU into their league. Along with BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF, considered among the top AAC programs, were also invited into the conference.
The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors this morning voted to extend membership invitations to Brigham Young University, the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Houston to join the Conference.
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.
The question now becomes, when will BYU join the Big 12 Conference? According to a report from The Athletic, Nicole Auerbach stated that the exit fee out of the West Coast Conference with less than 12 months notice is $1 million. So it doesn’t seem like much to facilitate a situation where BYU jumps into the Big 12 Conference in the 2022-2023 academic year.
If BYU joins next year, the Cougars will be in the same league as Texas and Oklahoma for at least three years unless their lawyers find them an early exit, are in the Big 12 till June 30, 2025. Thus, allowing BYU to stack itself up against a pair of the blueblood programs in all of the nation.
According to SP+ ratings, the Big 12 Conference is currently viewed as the third-best Power Five league. When Texas and Oklahoma leave, and the new additions matriculate in, the metrics say it’s the fifth-best conference in college football. Not far behind the Pac-12 Conference in the metrics.
According to the Ken Pomeroy metrics, in basketball, the Big 12 Conference without Texas and Oklahoma and adding the new members would still be considered the number one league in all of college basketball.
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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