Utah Gov. Cox Declares July 1 ‘BYU Big 12 Conference Day’

Jun 30, 2023, 12:56 PM

BYU, Utah, Big 12 Conference Day...

The State of Utah will recognize July 1, 2023 as BYU Big 12 Conference Day." (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Governor Spencer Cox is joining in on the celebration that is BYU moving into the Big 12 Conference.

Governor Cox declared July 1st, 2023, “BYU Big 12 Conference Day” in Utah.

BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe was at the Utah State Capitol with Lt. Gov. Deidre M. Henderson celebrating Governor Cox’s official declaration.

The state of Utah has had a history of recognizing conference affiliation changes. In 2011, the University of Utah’s move from the Mountain West Conference to Pac-12 was declared “Pac-12 Day.”

BYU will leave Independence in football and the West Coast Conference in its Olympic sports to join the Big 12.

Governor Cox declares July 1 “BYU 12 Conference Day”

Governor Cox’s official declaration stated:

“Whereas, July 1, 2023, marks the official entry of Brigham Young University into the Big 12 Conference, commonly known as one of the ‘Power 5’ conferences in college athletics, boasting 77 NCAA team titles and 718 individual national championships;

“Whereas, the Big 12 Conference was formed in February 1994 with competitive excellence, scholarship and sportsmanship as equal components of the Big 12 philosophy;

“Whereas, the Big 12 Conference is comprised of doctorate-granting universities with the highest classification given by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the conference universities share a commitment to excellence;

“Whereas, Big 12 institutions create a league that encompasses seven states, nearly 38 million people and nearly 5,000 student-athletes from across the United States and around the world competing annually in sports sponsored by the conference;

“Whereas, BYU will participate in 20 of the 23 sports sponsored by the Big 12 Conference where division titles and conference champions are awarded, fostering an environment of performance excellence;

“Whereas, the additions of BYU, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Houston, and the University of Central Florida will expand market share, revenue growth, and sports programming in all four ranked TV markets, and the impact of the move on the local and state economies is still emerging;

“Whereas, BYU venues allow for the largest basketball and second largest football attendance by drawing from a base of more than 161,710 local BYU alumni and friends, 659,399 Utah County residents, more than 3,000 traveling fans from other institutions;

“Whereas, BYU will participate in the first-of-its-kind Big 12 Conference-wide Pro Day before the 2024 NFL draft;

“Whereas, reinforcing the underpinnings of our thriving community begins by addressing diverse guest needs and creating positive experiences, as well as enhancing perceptions of Utah and other higher education institutions among local and national audiences; and,

“Whereas, shared values of education, faith, family, service, health, personal excellence, sportsmanship, and wholesome competition foster social support for athletes, visitors, residents, and others;

“Now, therefore, I, Spencer J. Cox, governor of the state of Utah, do hereby declare July 1, 2023, as BYU Big 12 Conference Day in Utah.”

BYU was invited into the Big 12 Conference in September of 2021. Joining them as newcomers in the Big 12 are UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston.

The first sporting event featuring a Big 12 BYU team is on August 17, when Women’s Soccer takes on Saint Louis.

Then two weeks later, BYU football opens its inaugural season as a Big 12 program on September 2 against Sam Houston at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Provo Mayor pens letter for BYU’s Big 12 move

Along with the move to the Big 12 being celebrated at the state capitol, BYU’s home in Provo is excited about the new opportunities that come with being in a Power Five league.

Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi wrote an article stating, “With membership in a power 5 conference will come new visitors. Fans of teams in the Big 12 are known to travel well, and many of them will be coming to experience a game at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

“With this influx of guests and exposure, itโ€™s my hope that we will each recognize this as an opportunity to put our best foot forward.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12โ€“3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Utah Gov. Cox Declares July 1 ‘BYU Big 12 Conference Day’