Sports

Big 12 Expansion: League Adds Four New Schools

typographic graphic saying big 12 expansion with 4 school logs at the bottom
Graphic by Campus Live Staff

Big 12 Expansion Including Cincinnati, BYU, UCF and Houston

If you follow college football, you may have heard about the dramatic change that the NCAA is currently going through. If you have not yet heard, let’s get you all caught up on the Big 12 Expansion and how we got here. 

It all started weeks ago when arguably two of the biggest powerhouses in the Big 12 Conference, Texas and Oklahoma announced they would be to join the SEC. Following the dramatic decision by both schools and in fear of losing the Big 12 Conference as a whole talks of several schools, including Texas Tech joining the Pac-12 Conference, came about. After several discussions in their committee, the Pac 12 would decide not to expand. This left schools schools like Texas Tech and the other remaining seven schools the question of, what now? 

Flash forward another couple of weeks in response to the SEC recruiting ranked power five schools; an alliance was formed. The alliance included the Big Ten, ACC, and the Pac-12. These conferences holds several ranked schools such as Ohio State, Clemson, and Georgia, to name a few. 

Big 12 Expansion Hits the News

Again, fast-forward another couple of weeks, and the Big 12 Conference is back in the news. This time as it will look to expand. In a press conference from Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt, he would state that Texas Tech will play a key role in recruiting and expanding the Big 12 Conference. A quote from John C. Maxwell I feel appropriate for the situation reads, “Change is inevitable…growth is optional.”

With plenty of change in the college world, the Big 12 has decided to change again. The four schools who have been extended an invitation, with plans to accept, are BYU, Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston. All four teams have impressive resumes, but let’s take a look at some of their notable accomplishments from the past. 

Notable Accomplishments 

BYU

        Starting with BYU, BYU is a private institution located in Provo, Utah. It is a part of the NCAA Division 1 FBS Independent Schools Conference. Let’s start their long list of accomplishments with one of the most recent. That being former quarterback Zach Wilson. Wilson was selected as the No. 2 overall pick in 2021 by the New York Jets and, with a successful career at BYU, will look to represent the university with high regard. 

        With a fairly successful football program, BYU also ranks in the top 25 in victories of all time in collegiate basketball. Their basketball resume has several notable accomplishments. Such as 21 NCAA Tournament invites, 26 conference titles, and has been nationally ranked in several instances. While football and men’s basketball may be significant sources of revenue. The university’s other athletic programs have consistently competed against some of the best competition in the country. 

Cincinnati 

        Another team that is a part of the Big 12 Expansion coming out of the AAC is the Cincinnati Bearcats, located in Cincinnati, Ohio. A few notable accomplishments out of Cincinnati were the national basketball championships in 1961 and 1962. To add, Cincinnati has five national championships from the dance team. 

Cincinnati is also considered in the top 15 winniniest basketball programs. Their total NCAA tournament appearances are at 33 with 6 Final Fours.

        With a long history of success and a solid football team, Cincinnati would be a great addition to the Big 12 Conference. By helping further grow the conference’s expansion into other big markets. 

UCF

        The third school in the talks is the University of Central Florida, otherwise known as UCF. Located in Orlando, Florida, UCF has a student population of 71,913 as of 2020 and is a part of the AAC conference. With big names such as Bake Bortles and Tacko Fall coming out of UCF, the college would be an excellent addition to the Big 12 Conference. 

        In recent times the UCF Knights would have an undefeated season in 2017 where they would go 13-0 under head coach Scott Frost. While many would argue the team should have been in the playoffs, the Knights have since continued their dominance in college football. Similiar in the case of Cincinnati, the Big 12 will benefit from reaching another major market. 

Houston

        The Big 12 Conference and the University of Houston have a history. Along with history in the Southwest conference with several current members of the Big 12. Previously in efforts to enter the conference, the university’s advance would be declined, but now in 2021, the institution is ready to join. 

        Texas Tech and Houston also have a very recent history as the two would open their season against one another in football this last weekend. In a hard-fought game, the Red Raiders would step up after a hard fight from Houston to go on to win 38-21. Now with the Cougars football team improving, they will be an excellent addition to the conference.

Most recently in basketball, the Houston team made it all the way to the 2021 Final Four before being outed by Baylor.

Along with their sports teams, Houston also stands as the biggest city in Texas and the fourth in the United States, which would make it another big market for the Big 12 Conference to enter. 

Overall on Big 12 Expansion

        Overall, the change in college football has been inevitable, and there has been much in the past few weeks. The Big 12 Expansion committee will continually look for growth with rumors of possibly adding more. Adding teams such as BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston will be an excellent opportunity for growth and development as it will fight to remain a power five school. 

For more Campus Live stories check our History of the Big 12 article.

For more information on the Big 12 Conference, click here!

Story by Campus Live Employee Trinity Porter

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