ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

Big 12 extends invites to BYU, Houston, Cincinnati and UCF

Sep 10, 2021, 7:43 AM
(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)...
(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Big 12 extended membership invitations Friday to BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston to join the Power Five league that will be losing Oklahoma and Texas to the Southeastern Conference.

The eight continuing members of the Big 12 unanimously approved the applications of the four schools.

The moves come six weeks after the SEC invited Texas and Oklahoma to join its league in time for the 2025-26 season, though there remains the possibility that could happen sooner. For now though, the Big 12 appears focused on the additions.

After identifying it primary expansion targets last week, the Big 12 moved quickly to make it happen. The four schools had also been vetted by the league in 2016 when it considered expansion then before staying at 10 teams.

“As necessary, institutional Boards will be in session today to act on Big 12 Conference membership,” the Big 12 conference said in a release. “Videoconference announcements with Big 12 Board of Directors Chairman and Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and campus representatives are scheduled today …”

BYU was the first school to officially announce the acceptance of the invite. It said it would formally join the Big 12 for the 2023-24 season.

“We have said all along that the decisions about where we play, who we play and what conference we compete in are about the student-athletes first and how we can help them achieve excellence,” BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe said in a statement. “Competing on the Big 12 stage provides more opportunities for our student-athletes. That’s what it’s all about.

“College athletics is changing,” Holmoe added. “We’ve seen a rapid increase in the rate in which change is happening. We see it with conference realignment, we’ve seen it with the transfer portal, governance, and we’ve certainly seen it with NIL. We’re ready at BYU. Today’s news about joining the Big 12 is huge, but it’s not a resting point for us. This is just a new beginning with opportunities for bigger and better things to keep coming for BYU Athletics.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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