Realignment Today: Reports indicate Big 12 planning to officially invite BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF to join the conference as soon as Friday


The Big 12 Conference logo is seen on a goal line pylon before Duquesne plays TCU in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Big 12 Conference logo is seen on a goal line pylon before Duquesne plays TCU in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Fort Worth, Texas. by AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

The Big 12 Conference could have a decidedly different look as soon as Friday, even if it won’t impact the schedules and competition for a couple of years.

According to multiple reports this week, including one from CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, the Big 12 appears to be on the brink of ballooning to 14 teams at least for the next couple of years.

The league would go back down — or is it up? — to 12 schools upon the departures of Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC, which, as of today, is still slated for 2025 at the end of the Big 12’s current grant of rights agreement.

According to Dodd’s report, sources told him that Big 12 presidents — not ADs or commissioners — were prepared to “rubber stamp” invitations to four schools at a Friday meeting.

The four schools who are expected to be added are BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida, a group that emerged as the leading expansion candidates early on in the aftermath of the bombshell news dropped by OU and UT.

According to multiple reports this week, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF have officially applied for Big 12 membership and are expecting to receive invitations. It is not yet clear whether BYU has made a similar request, but, according to several recent reports, the Cougars emerged as the Big 12’s top choice in the current expansion talks.

Because of its status as an independent in football, BYU potentially could join the Big 12 as soon as 2022, with the three other schools following a year later.

While the addition of these four schools will not entirely make up for the losses of big, bad national brands Oklahoma and Texas, reports have indicated that it could be enough for the Big 12 Conference to keep its Power 5 status.

That would be significant both in terms of annual revenue haul and the conference’s ability to keep its access to the biggest pay day of all as the other power conferences explore expanding the college football playoff from its current four-team format to as many as 12.

It also would bring some much-needed stability to the conference — temporary or otherwise — and could make current members less likely to feverishly look for landing spots elsewhere as had been the case a couple of weeks ago.

That’s not to say that a few of the conference’s remaining eight members could not wind up somewhere else a few years down the road. But it does likely mean that if a school like Kansas is going to end up somewhere else, like say the Big Ten, it will be because things changed in that conference and the Big Ten decided to expand and went after KU or whichever other schools it might consider adding.

If that were to happen, KU almost certainly would have to take the invitation. Because while the move to add these four today would help ensure the Big 12’s survival, the conference has proven twice now that it can become vulnerable at any moment.

Beyond that, the Big Ten pay day would still be far greater (nearly double) than what a revamped Big 12 will pull in from its new television deals/partners, even if that number winds up being $20-25 million per school per year.

If no other invitation comes, KU, and others, finding a way to salvage $20-25 million annually from TV revenue should be considered a major victory. Sure, it’s a dip from the current $35 million range that Big 12 members are enjoying. But it could have dipped way lower.

There’s still a long way to go before those numbers become reality. And perhaps there will be some new, innovative twists to what the Big 12 does moving forward that make it (a) more appealing long term, (b) more lucrative for its members or (c) harder for anyone to get out once they’ve committed to the revamped conference.

But all of that can and will be settled over time, which the Big 12 now appears to have thanks to its willingness to move quickly to add what appears to be the best of what was available.


Jonathan Allison 9 months, 4 weeks ago

It's very good news for the Big 12 if these 4 schools are wanting in.

If these 4 schools really do want to join the Big 12, then the Big 12 should definitely be working on the play to move to 16 teams. But they need to continue looking for the best opportunities to grow with strong brands and large audiences.

1.) Schools like KU, OSU, and others should and will continue looking for opportunities to join stronger conferences regardless of adding BYU, Cinci, UH, and UCF. So moving back to 12 teams in the league really isn't enough because of the reality that they could continue to lose traditional conference members in the near future.

2.) These four school do not replace the value generated by OU and UT. While these schools do have the credentials to play with the power leagues, the conference is looking much more like a mid-major league considering the losses of OU and UT, A&M, Nebraska, and Colorado over the years. Yeah, and I guess you could throw Mizzou in with that group too. You lose six flagship state institutions and add West Virginia, and some religious schools, city schools, and a directional school in Florida... so despite the strength of the athletics programs... the perception is that the conference continues to get weaker.

Brian Wilson 9 months, 4 weeks ago

And exactly how has that worked out for Nebraska and Colorado?

IMO, it won't matter. Soon in the next 5-10 years the bottom schools of the SEC will flounder...and possibly even schools like Alabama. Once the Billionaire's figure out they can buy 55 bobble heads at at 100K a piece to recruit the best players to their Alma Mater so they can win the first National Cahmpinonship in their life time all of these other schools will be scrambling for two star players. Why would any QB play in the SEC on a bottom rung school when they can earn 250K playing in another league, win a chiampionship, and be noticed. For that matter, why would the best QB in the nation go to Alabama when a booster is willing to buy a $500K T-shirt to come to a different school. Just wait, it's bound to happen.

W Keith Swinehart II 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I like the idea of the four mentioned teams joining. The four are significant teams who would all gain greater value in the new Big 12. As it stands we are The Big Eight, and that ain't enough.

The losses of Texas and Oklahoma is big. But the possible alignment with the addition of the aforementioned four teams would make for a challenging conference.

I wouldn't look too far ahead. Go a step at a time. Everything changes. Just be ready.

Steve Hillyer 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Matt, Any word on if this will effect the current tv deal or if these 12 teams will be signing a new one soon? I’m hoping KU doesn’t sign onto anything that will extend the GOR, if they do then they aren’t moving anywhere and we are stuck as a mid-major.

Bob Strawn 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Ku fans and media's relentless, delusional pursuit of the B10 is noteworthy.

Dale Rogers 9 months, 4 weeks ago

We tend to think of "directional" schools as being smaller schools and perhaps not very strong athletically. That's not the case with UCF. With an enrollment of 66,183, UCF is larger than Florida and Florida State and is far larger than any current Big 12 school. And that includes UT, which has an enrollment of 50,950.

Rodney Crain 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Just having fun Dale not disagreeing with your post.... Their site says 72k enrolled.

Over 25% of their enrollment is over 65, but their graduation rates are only 80%.

Entire School will be raised on Stilts over the next decade, due to Climate Change

Free Day passes to Disney World for everyone traveling with the team

Additional NIL opportunities for visiting teams taking a picture at Gatorland. Players get to feed adult gators inside their pens, fun for all. Only available before they play.

Free passes for the VelociCoaster if you cost your team the game.

Dale Rogers 9 months, 4 weeks ago

You're correct on the enrollment. I saw that after posting and realized I had looked at an older count.

I was not aware of the over 65 enrollment but am not really surprised given how many of my friends and relatives have retired to that general area. But, we over-65'ers are very rabid fans! LOL

Matt Warman 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I agree with you. Also USC, Southern a "directional school"..... just saying........

Spencer Goff 9 months, 4 weeks ago

UCF is a sleeping giant. People will poo poo it because that is what people do, but assuming there is not some major life changing event like a meteor hitting the United States (i.e. all bets off), UCF will be a monster twenty years down the road. It is barely 60 years old and is already massive.

Jonathan Allison 9 months, 4 weeks ago

you are correct. Also, I was talking about the perception of the schools the Big 12 is adding as compared to the perception of the schools the Big 12 has lost. Perception does not always equal reality. I was not meaning any disrespect to UCF, Cinci, UH, BYU, or TCU. I agree with their addition to the league and recognize that their addition does in fact strengthen the league in terms of football and mens bball competition.

Dale Rogers 9 months, 4 weeks ago

At least it keeps us in the P5 picture even if for now it means we take a bit of a dip in overall quality of sports reputation. I think these schools are poised to move upward in perception over the next handful of years. OU and UT are going the way of MU and TA&M and will not have the luster in the SEC that they have in the B12. I guess dollars trumps perception.

Dirk Medema 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I question that adding the teams provides stability. It definitely changes the dynamics but I find it challenging at best to include stability in any relationship to the current situation. Proposed changes can sometimes be confused with stability mostly due to a lack of consideration of the new resultant instabilities.

Dale Rogers 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I think the comment regarding stability had more to do with calming the Big12 waters so the remaining teams are less likely to view the Big12 as a sinking ship and look to move out before it disintegrates. Thus, the stability of this move is temporary. So long as there is more money elsewhere, there will always be realignment in the future, somewhere.

Rodney Crain 9 months, 4 weeks ago

It will be a minor miracle if these Big 12 presidents are able to pull this off. I don't trust these clowns to put on pants before they go outside. Reminds me of my Grandpa trying to start a electric power drill. "All you got to do is hit it really hard with a hammer till it works or you break it".

Dirk Medema 9 months, 4 weeks ago

That sheds a lot of light on your comments.

Rodney Crain 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Dirk, I think you are misusing your "Elite" Reading Comprehension. It is tricky right? That is a real shame, I do look forward to your flowery words, trying so hard to make some obscure point about something you understand no more, no less, than the rest of us.

Acting pompous will only take you so far. Mostly in your own mind. But you already know this.

Say if I can ask, did you take Comm2 in college? Asking for a friend...

Rodney Crain 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Matt can you confirm or deny that you use a Pseudonym to post to your own articles?

I have a pretty good idea who you might be pretending to be. A certain someone, who writes like my Junior Comm2 teacher, who is trying to hide they are actually a Sports Writer.

Not to influence your answer but I have the word "Conspiracy" teed up depending on what you say. :)

By the way no answer will confirm that I am correct. LOL

Brett McCabe 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I agree with Dirk. Unless this is step one of a multi-step plan heading towards something big, then it looks a lot like a panic play.

The bottom line is this, as long as the Big 12 payout is a lower than those of other conferences, then you will always be at risk.

The key to stability would be to create something of unique value, such as the 16 teams/pods that have been suggested. Or something even bigger. Like, absorbing all of the AAC and Mountain West and making a super conference with your own 8 team playoff. Or merging with the PAC. Or something.

And to Bob’s point about the Big Ten…..they added Rutgers and Maryland solely for the media markets. KU brings a top 40 media market. It’s no pipe dream to think we could get in.

Rodney Crain 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Those 4 schools listed all have bigger media markets than Kansas City. Orlando and Houston are top 10-17.

The issue we face is that the ACC, P12, and B10 are set right now. SEC ready to go with OU, TX. That means the Big 8 is on the outside looking in. I get it is a ugly dirty mess and I hate sitting in it, but this is moving forward no matter what anyone else says. Other than all the travel and the timezones, we need to shore up with what we can. If we sit tight with nothing we have to hope no one else jumps ship in the next few years. If they do it gets way worse. We cease to exist in a super conference world unless we do something.

I like Cin and Hou. BYU is ok, UCF, its just so out of the way. But it the one of the best options right now.

Patience went out the window when the other 3 conferences froze us out. We are on our own, we have weaker media markets, we must act. We need these markets to get better tv right money and stability.

Is it a Panic move, yes thank god. I just wish we had smarter folks engaged.

Brian Wilson 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Not really out of the way if you are thinking Orange Bowl.

Rodney Crain 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I Like the way you think! Orlando for the Conference championship? Fans and their family come along. Basketball with Disney, gators and Wildlife. Where else can you eat or be eaten by the local wildlife? How big does a python really get? lol

Dale Rogers 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I agree with most of Rodney's comments but I am less concerned about the travel and timezones. If the teams rode buses to every game, then I'd be concerned about the distances. But, flying, we're talking an hour more, two at most. As for the timezones, we get that already in the tournament. We do not have uniform start times for our games. We're subject to tv networks for those start times. So, start an hour earlier or later than you do at home is not a big deal in my opinion. The Kansas teams can probably fly to Orlando faster than they can bus to Ames.

Dirk Medema 9 months, 4 weeks ago

There have been some reports that previous expansion possibilities were stopped by ut. Was that others caving into ut’s interests or do some programs actually have veto power?

The reason I ask is because of the current scenario. Does ut & ou have any option to block the expansion?

As Steve asks, how does this impact the TV $? I believe there are clauses in the current contract that address situations like this that I vaguely recall reading about in previous iterations of shifting alignments.

It seems to me that adding schools will result in smaller pieces of the tv pie and might ultimately lead to ut/ou’s departure sooner than previously planned.

Brian Wilson 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Which begs a question? Can Texas and Oklahome changes there minds? If we gain the Houston market,Florida Market, Ohio Market and the huge BYU following/ this a play to keep UT and OU in the league with the possbility of generating greater revenue?

Dale Rogers 9 months, 4 weeks ago

No idea. I suspect the Big 12 would have to vote to accept them back.

Rodney Crain 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Ummm, they are gone gone. The SEC is #1 for a reason. $$$$$$$$$$$$$

Rodney Crain 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Small minds. Small ideas. Small solutions.

Spencer Goff 9 months, 4 weeks ago

If SicEm is even close to the mark, these four schools put the revenue per school around $42 million as compared to what was going to be $47 million.

That did not factor in that OU and UT were always asking for bigger and bigger pieces of the pie.

I would gladly pay $5 million a year more to be rid of the cancer.

Rodney Crain 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Agreed. They will get paid but they are just fresh meat for some of those teams in the south. I will enjoy seeing Alabama playing the 4th string to start the 3rd quarter when they play Texas!

Be careful what you wish for.

Spencer Goff 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Man, to be a fly on the wall in a meeting where Texass tries to pull that same crap they did with the Big 12 for two decades on Sankey and the rest of the SEC.

You know A&M was like a middle schooler texting every current SEC member with "You know they are going to try and tell us what to do, right? You know that's what they do, right? You really don't want to bring her to the party, she's so annoying and bossy and full of herself."

Brett McCabe 9 months, 4 weeks ago

This just isn’t enough. You still have a fifth-wheel conference. No matter how much or what shade the lipstick is. I just read an article stating that the goal of the Big Four is to now freeze out everyone else, and maybe even kick a few out (Miss., MSU, Vandy, Wake come to mind) to consolidate $$ and power.

One way to combat that is to go the other way, freeze them out but do it in a big way. Push for parity like the NFL by allowing sub .500 schools to add recruits, create a playoff that has a Big Dance feel, shun the bowls and put your Final Four and championship games in Vegas, your playoff games on campus, look at rules that make the game more interesting. Create an identity that builds interest. Don’t like these ideas? No problem, come up with better ones and institute them now. Go on offense, as they say. It’s possible that you could build something that actually generates more revenue.

Michael Maris 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Why stop at 12? Go beyond and go to 16 (like the other 4 are trying to do.

Northern Illinois - Rockford and ChicagoLand just shy of 10,000,000 population

S. Florida - Tampa and surrounding area is 3+ million Population and giving CFU a direct rival.

Colorado State - Denver Market over 3 million population as well

Memphis - W. Tennessee , N. Mississippi and Eastern Ark. TV

Don't think Memphis is adequate, then give BYU a direct Rival with Boise State and the entire State of Idaho TV viewers (around 1.8 to 1.9 million).

If it's all about TV Viewership. Then, a % of everyone of those markets are going to tune in for their teams. Figure out how to best maximize your league's tv revenue earning potentials.

Texas & OU have always been about themselves and NO one else. So, f' them and let their fan base get use to 6-6, 7-5, 8-4 regular season records and never playing in NCAA playoffs again (all for the almighty tv revenue dollars).

Michael Maris 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Targeted TV Markets and Rank:

Chicago #3, Houston #8, Tampa/St. Pete #12, Denver #17, Orlando #18, Charlotte #21, Cincinnati #37, New Orleans #50, Memphis #51, Tulsa #58, Boise #102

Northern Illinois, Houston, S. Florida, Colorado State, Central Florida, UNC-Charlotte, U. of Cincinnati, Tulane U., U. of Memphis, U. of Tulsa and Boise State.

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 4 weeks ago

After the dust settles with this expansion, I bet the league goes to 16 along the lines you project. My guess is USF (Tampa) and CSU (Denver) would be great fits. The other two?...Tulane and SMU or Rice. I'd love for the Big 12 to get into the Chicago market but not sure DeKalb (NIU) does the trick. Perhaps UIC will add football to get a bid.

Michael Maris 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I know NIU Alumni. It's not that far for NIU Alumni to journey to DeKalb, IL. It's 60 miles to O'Hare. And, NIU has won more games in the last 10 years than Kansas has. UIC will not add football....... Saturday games @ NIU sellout. Tuesday thru Thursday night games do NOT (referring to MAC weeknight games on ESPN).

Dirk Medema 9 months, 4 weeks ago

NIU is next to irrelevant in Chicago. I think you might similarly be over estimating others.

Rodney Crain 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Irrelevant(?) NIU used to be broadcast on 670 the Score radio in Chicago from 2005 to 2018(2017?) 13th ranked radio station, top 3 Sports. Northwestern, a little Depaul(bb only) and IL are broadcast locally on TV and/or radio. Loyola-Chicago (bb only) made some noise with the final 4 run and sister Jean too. I live in the Chicago area, the truth is unless the college is close like Northwestern, Loyola-Chicago, Depaul, I am not sure there is a fit here for the Big 12. Add to that the Big 10 network, as well as access to the SEC and Pac 12 network here it is already crowded.

UIC, is Div 1 and does have a few sports. Just not sure Football is on their bucket list. Play at Soldier field? There are 34k enrolled there.

Kevin Woods 9 months, 4 weeks ago

So we are still considered a 'Power 5' conference for football? With this bunch of schools, might as well make football FCS.

Rodney Crain 9 months, 4 weeks ago


As pointed out above maybe we reinvent our conference as The B8+.

The only Power 4+ conference in the nation. We Coast to Coast - almost :)

Brian Skelly 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I think the media markets measurement will always be there, but with the fragmentation of media, along with streaming the more important metric is eyeballs. People actually watching games, not just who could be watching them.

I remember when I used to pay for the ESPN College Basketball add on package. It was great because this was before KU was on Big Monday all the time. I remember the Big East (the real Big East) used to benefit greatly with the ratings and numbers from that package. The next biggest beneficary? KU. It consistently had huge numbers.

Now, that stuff has essentially migrated to ESPN+. And I think that's where a lot of this is going.

Dirk Medema 9 months, 4 weeks ago

How big is the media market in Norman?

There seems to be a disconnect somewhere.

Rodney Crain 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Oklahoma is #43, KC is 31 but you have to factor in it is a split city for colleges. - Nielsen DMA's

I will help with your comprehension on this subject. Advertising or marketing a brand, is very tricky. It is a combination of many different aspects of reach (how many people are watching or listening or that join online now). Media Market size is one of the aspects of how companies make a buy, or pay the station to put their ad on. There are also the fans that follow a team from around the country. For example, Norte Dame has a very attractive fan base. Oklahoma has a strong following in football. The Packers, and Cowboys in the pros, have a strong fan base. A larger media market attracts more advertisers willing to pay more money. Not all ads run during the game, there is always a pregame, post-game buy aspect too. It also matters if a section of the viewers are not watching due to the time of the game. Like the East Coast not watching West Coast games they go so late in the night. These are just a few aspects. Gender, ethnicity, age and other things determine buys.

It all starts though with the size of the media market. Then the other aspects are factored in.

Peter Miles 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Travel schedules would be interesting, although WV would probably be happier.

Would this result in splitting the conference into two divisions?

Spencer Goff 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Very likely. Betting it functions similar to the old Big 12 in a 5+3 format. Play the five in your division every year and three from the other. Plus a title game.

Dale Stringer 9 months, 4 weeks ago

reposted from the other article:

Let's keep it going... ...Now that Texas is leaving, we can send invitations to Colorado and Nebraska to come back. ... Poach from the SEC and ask Arkansas to join. ... Get more from the ACC and ask everyone else in the ACC too.

Maybe we could get to 20 teams. Then every 2 years hold a 'Division Draft' to pick the two groups. Bet ESPN would pay to televise that and force the SEC and BigG to do it too.

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