BYU Joins Big 12

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Dec 22, 2020; Boca Raton, Florida, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scrambles with the ball against the UCF Knights during the first half at FAU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Brigham Young University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Houston, and the University of Central Florida, have accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 college football conference on September 10, 2021.

The Big 12 conference presidents were looking to keep their power five conference status by adding the four schools. Power five conference means one of the “top” or “elite” conferences in college football. 

Just a couple of months ago, the University of Texas and Oklahoma told the conference that they plan to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC (Southeastern Conference) by 2025. 

When this happened, Big 12 officials met to discuss their options. They concluded that the most successful football schools in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) were the top choices. To keep it even, they chose BYU as their fourth team. 

According to Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, BYU will join the conference for the 2023-2024 athletic season. 

The other three schools will join no later than 2024, but they may join earlier. AAC commissioner, Mike Aresco, told ESPN on Friday that the conference “will be willing to negotiate a higher exit fee to accommodate earlier departures for the three schools”. 

Trying to join a power conference is not new news for BYU. BYU has been looking to join a conference for the past few years. 

Besides the Big 12, the PAC-12 conference was also a consideration, but talks never really gained traction. According to an August article from the “Cougs Daily FN”, The Big 12 conference has rejected BYU in the past when they asked to join their conference. 

“Six years ago, people thought it might have been a failure when we didn’t get into the Big 12, but at that point in time, our coaches and our student-athletes and administration determined that this isn’t gonna be a failure. It’s going to be a launching point” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said. 

BYU plays one Big 12 team this year, on October 16, at Baylor University in Texas. 

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