Cincinnati, Houston, BYU, UCF Accept Invites to Join Big 12

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 10, 2021

AUSTIN, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 04: A Big 12 logo is seen on the turf before the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 04, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Big 12 Conference announced Friday it has extended invitations to BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF following a vote by the board of directors. 

All four schools are scheduled to hold press conferences Friday to formally accept the offer.

University of Houston @UHouston

We have some Big news.<br><br>The University of Houston has accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 Conference. ➡️ <a href="https://t.co/OskYtcEF1u">https://t.co/OskYtcEF1u</a> <a href="https://t.co/y10PGFXx1D">pic.twitter.com/y10PGFXx1D</a>


OFFICIAL: Brigham Young University has accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 Conference. <a href="https://t.co/0brQvmwSmA">pic.twitter.com/0brQvmwSmA</a>

Cincinnati Bearcats @GoBEARCATS

<a href="https://t.co/mpRbjeGcBT">pic.twitter.com/mpRbjeGcBT</a>

UCF Knights @UCFKnights

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChargeOn?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ChargeOn</a> <a href="https://t.co/ry9cbPeFA4">pic.twitter.com/ry9cbPeFA4</a>

The plan calls for the programs to begin play in the Big 12 in 2023, per Brett McMurphy of the Action Network.

BYU, which is currently an independent in football and a member of the West Coast Conference in other sports, announced the conference has agreed to amend its schedule to allow the Cougars to maintain their Sunday-play policy following the move.

Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will arrive from the American Athletic Conference. That leaves the AAC to "hunt for new members," likely targeting schools from the Mountain West, Conference USA or the Sun Belt, according to ESPN's Heather Dinich and Adam Rittenberg.

Nicole Auerbach @NicoleAuerbach

Here's AAC commissioner Mike Aresco, after three of his schools got poached by the Big 12: <a href="https://t.co/HoKFcDmBRf">pic.twitter.com/HoKFcDmBRf</a>

The college landscape has turned into a carousel since Oklahoma and Texas announced in July they planned to move to the SEC, which would have left the Big 12 with eight programs.

Since plans called for Oklahoma and Texas to make their moves in 2025, the Big 12 could be a 14-team conference for two years unless the Sooners and Longhorns move earlier.

In August, Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades warned the conference needed to act quickly following the OU and UT news to avoid falling from the ranks of the college elite.

"The economic impact is real," Rhoades told reporters. "If we are no longer a member of a Power Five, we will sell less tickets, we will sell less merchandise, we will raise less money and we will have less corporate sponsorship."

While none of the schools brought in by the Big 12 can match the national reach of Oklahoma and Texas, they should keep the conference in the Power Five group.

Expect several more conference alignment changes before the evolving situation solidifies.