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#pounditFriday, October 15, 2021

Report: Big 12 has necessary votes to add four new members

Big 12 conference

The Big 12 is moving very quickly to expand to 12 members again, even in light of the pending departures of Texas and Oklahoma.

According to Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde of SI.com, UCF, Houston, BYU, and Cincinnati are set to apply for Big 12 membership next week and a Sept. 10 meeting could lead to approval. Notably, the report states that the Big 12 has the sufficient votes to add the four members.

Also notable is the timeline. The four new schools would be expected to join by 2023 or 2024 at the latest. With Oklahoma and Texas set to remain in the Big 12 through the 2024 season, it could lead to one or two seasons in which they compete with the four incoming schools in a 14-team Big 12.

UCF, Houston, and Cincinnati are likely to have to pay a higher exit fee than the $10 million stipulated by the American Athletic Conference. This is because they would be giving 23 months notice for their exits, while the league requires 27 months.

In addition, BYU appears poised to join the Big 12 as a full member. BYU is independent in football, but is a member of the West Coast Conference in other sports. BYU is reportedly expected to leave the WCC entirely as a result.

At the very least, this secures the immediate future of the Big 12 and should allow it to retain Power 5 status. That group’s status looks secure as well, as the powerhouse SEC will be countered by a rebuilding Big 12 and an alliance of the three other power conferences. While this will provide stability to that group of leagues, attention will now turn to the AAC, which will be significantly weakened by the departure of three of its most successful members.

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