Cincinnati, UCF, Houston to Join Big 12 in 2023

Three of the Big 12’s four newest additions will be eligible to compete in conference play by next year. Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF officially reached an exit agreement with the American Athletic Conference, after the move was announced last September.

The fourth school, BYU, is an independent and does not require an exit agreement to join a conference. The Cougars will join the Big 12 in 2023 as well.

big 12According to a recent report from ESPN, the three American Athletic Conference schools will officially join the Big 12 on July 1, 2023.

Below is an excerpt from the ESPN report.

Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will each pay $18 million to exit the American Athletic Conference, according to the term sheet. The schools had been paying a $10 million exit fee in four annual payments through 2024, and they agreed to pay an additional $8 million — spread over 12 payments from 2025 to 2036 — to leave in 2023.

“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,” American 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.”

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Cincinnati earned a College Football Playoff spot last season, while UCF and Houston have earned New Year’s Six bowl bids as part of the American.

The American Athletic Conference is adding UAB, FAU, Charlotte, North Texas, Rice, and UT-San Antonio from Conference USA. The schools are expected to begin play in the conference next year, with Charlotte and UTSA announcing Friday that they would join the league on July 1, 2023.