Big 12 Eyeing Four New Members in Expansion Search
According to a report from SI.com’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger, the conference is eyeing UCF, Houston, BYU, and Cincinnati to join and could be approved for admission as early as September 10. According to Forde’s & Dellenger’s sources, the Big 12 has the eight necessary votes needed for expansion.Below is an excerpt from SI.com’s report.
In this scenario, the four teams will join the league by 2023 or, at the very latest, 2024, and may even compete alongside Oklahoma and Texas before those two powerhouses depart for the SEC, making for a couple of awkward seasons in a 14-team Big 12.
The timeline is fluid and has been described as optimistic, but not unrealistic. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has even gone on on-site visits, most recently taking a trip to meet with Houston officials on Thursday.
“Now that the names [of the potential new additions] are out, I’d think that will expedite the process,” said one Big 12 source.
UCF, Houston, and Cincinnati — the three American Athletic Conference members — are required to give 27-month notice to their league and pay a $10 million exit penalty. In the current timeline, the teams would give a 23-month notice and likely pay an increased exit fee. BYU is not a member of a conference in football but must give the West Coast Conference notice for its other sports leaving the league.
The four new members are not expected to immediately get full distribution shares. However, their first-year shares in the Big 12 are expected to double if not triple their American distribution, which is around $6 million or $7 million.
A Big 12 source described the attraction of the prospective new additions being rooted in both TV market/audience and football relevancy. “Can you think of anybody that surpasses them in those areas?” the source asked. “All four have won in the last 10 years with multiple head coaches. That speaks to infrastructure and commitment.”
With the additions, the Big 12 will retain its status as an Autonomy 5 league, college football leaders believe. The NCAA granted autonomy powers in legislative matters to the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12, ACC, and Big 12, but the most important piece relates to the College Football Playoff. The Power 5 conferences hold lucrative bowl tie-ins as part of the CFP contract, which does not expire until after the 2025 season.