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Cincy, Houston, UCF To Join Big 12 In 2023 After Agreement With AAC

Jun 10, 2022, 9:23 AM | Updated: 9:42 am

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Big 12 Conference dished out $440 million in revenue for the 2022-23 year. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF reached agreements with the AAC and will officially leave the conference to join the Big 12 in 2023.

The American announced the agreements and the official upcoming departure date of the three institutions on Friday, June 10.

“American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco has announced that The American has reached agreements with the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Houston regarding the departure of those institutions from The American,” the AAC said in a statement.

The conference added that its members “voted to terminate the membership of UCF, Cincinnati and Houston effective July 1, 2023.”

According to Sam Khan Jr. of The Athletic, the three schools will each pay an $18 million exit fee to the AAC for leaving the conference.

UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston will join BYU in entering the Big 12 in 2023. As a current FBS independent, BYU was already able to enter the Big 12 next summer. Now, the three soon-to-be AAC schools will join the Cougars.

“I would like to thank UCF President Alexander Cartwright, Cincinnati President Neville Pinto and Houston President Renu Khator – as well as Tulane President Michael Fitts, who is chair of our Board of Directors – for their efforts and leadership to arrive at a sensible resolution to the three schools’ departure from the conference,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “All three institutions enjoyed tremendous success under the American Athletic Conference banner, and all three were instrumental in taking the conference to great heights, both athletically and academically. We wish them the best and look forward to having them compete in our conference in 2022-23.”

BYU, AAC Schools Join Big 12

In September 2021,the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors 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.

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Cincy, Houston, UCF To Join Big 12 In 2023 After Agreement With AAC