Big 12 presidents and chancellors voted on Friday to accept BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston into the conference. In a statement, the Big 12 said the four schools were “approved unanimously by the eight continuing members.”
The move comes less than two months after Big 12 co-founders Oklahoma and Texas announced they would join the SEC by July 1, 2025, putting the rest of the conference in a tough position. League officials moved quickly, picking top American Athletic Conference members Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston as well as independent BYU. The Big 12 was waiting until this week when those schools formally indicated they wanted to join the conference.
BYU will join the conference for the 2023-2024 season and the three AAC schools will join the conference no later than the 2024-2025 academic year according to Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
An ESPN article stated that “AAC bylaws require schools to give a 27-month notice before they leave and pay a $10 million buyout fee. In that scenario, joining by the 2023 season would be a long shot, but some sources have said it is realistic. An earlier exit — with a higher buyout — is always a possibility. 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.” Assuming everything goes to plan, the AAC will likely be looking for new members soon.