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Big 12 approves four new schools to join the conference

Big 12 new members

The Big 12 Conference has had an interesting last few months, but the league could officially be back to 12 schools soon.

On Friday, the presidents and chancellors of the Big 12 schools agreed to add four new members.

The four schools set to join the conference are BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and the University of Central Florida (UCF). BYU will be the first school to join the conference in 2023-24, but the other three programs could do so as well.

Chancellors and presidents from the Big 12 Conference were sent scrambling earlier this year when the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas decided to leave the league. Both Oklahoma and Texas are planning to join the SEC by July 1, 2025, and that would have left this league with just eight schools.

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There is a chance that the Big 12 Conference could have 14 schools in the league for one season if Oklahoma and Texas finish out their current contract. BYU can join the Big 12 quicker than the others as it is independent when it comes to college football.

The other three schools are members of the American Athletic Conference, and there is a 27-month notice that must be given before exiting the league. The AAC could allow the schools to pay a higher buyout fee for an earlier exit, but it’s unclear if that will be discussed.

Bob Bowlsby is the commissioner for the Big 12 Conference, and he also noted that further expansion is possible. Several schools have expressed potential interest in joining the Big 12 or another Power 5 Conference lately.

Bowlsby is also on the committee that is looking at a College Football Playoff expansion, and adding four new schools to his league will align with that decision. The loss of Oklahoma and Texas was a big blow to the league, but they have added four schools with a terrific football background.

AAC Now Searching For Schools

Mike Aresco is the commissioner of the American Athletic Conference, and he will now be tasked with finding new member schools for his league. Aresco said, “The irony that three of our schools are being asked to take the place of the two marquee schools which are leaving the Big 12 is not lost on us.”

The AAC has not yet made any official announcements about conference expansion, but they will almost certainly be looking to replace at least one of the schools. Conference USA and the Sun Belt Conference are two potential targets for the AAC as they look to poach schools.

Memphis was a school that was hoping to get an invite to the Big 12 Conference, and leaders of that school were disappointed that they weren’t chosen. Memphis president David Rudd explained that the Big 12 Conference was only looking at taking the more significant institutions to why his school wasn’t selected.

If the AAC moves ahead and takes schools from another league, it will continue the pattern with no end in sight.

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