Deal Reached: Cincinnati, Houston, UCF Officially Joining The Big 12 in 2023

Officially Joining The Big 12
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Texas and Oklahoma surprising the 2021 college football world with their shocking realignment news was only the catalyst to more change in conference membership. The Big 12 lost its two flagship bearing programs but was able to quickly add four new members. Those programs included Cincinnati, Houston, UCF from the American Athletic Conference, and independent BYU. BYU had already set to join the conference in the summer of 2023. But news broke Friday that the three schools from the AAC have reached an agreement to leave after this season and now are officially joining the Big 12 with BYU.

AAC Schools Exit Fees

AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco made the announcement early Friday about the three programs leaving. Per ESPN, “According to the term sheet, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will each pay $18 million to exit the American. The schools had been paying a $10 million exit fee in four annual payments through 2024, and they agreed to pay an additional $8 million — spread over 12 payments from 2025 to 2036 — to leave in 2023.” The American also did not waste any time in getting new members added to offset its own losses. They are adding UAB, FAU, Charlotte, North Texas, Rice, and UT-San Antonio from Conference USA.

Are The Four Schools Officially Joining The Big 12 Joining A Super Conference?

The grant of rights deal currently in place does not expire until 2025. This means Texas and Oklahoma must pay approximately $80 million if they want to join the SEC any earlier. Unless another major unexpected announcement comes in the next few months, the Big 12 will have 14 members in its league. This is an exciting time for the new programs officially joining the Big 12. It’s also exciting for existing Big 12 fan bases to see what new scheduling opportunities this presents.

Certainly, a new Lone Star showdown between Houston and Texas piques the interest of many native Texans. Seeing Oklahoma travel down to take on Gus Malzahn and UCF in the Bounce House would be quite a scene. Fresh off a playoff run, how ’bout seeing Cinncinati travel to Stillwater? BYU recently got a taste of Big 12 football just last year. The Cougars lost to the Bears by a score of 38-24. It will be interesting to see exactly how the decision-makers of the Big 12 decided to alter the schedule to add its new members into the fold. After all, most non-conference games by old and new Big 12 teams have already been scheduled. So adding one or two conference games will be tricky. Regardless of how the scheduling shapes out, Big 12 fans know that the next chapter of this conference will officially kick off in September 2023.

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