The Big 12 welcomed four new teams—BYU, Houston, UCF and Cincinnati—to the conference as they accepted membership invitations to join less than two months after Texas and Oklahoma said they'd join the SEC.
BYU Athletics Director Tom Holmoe said during Friday's press conference that the Big 12 will split into two football divisions as the conference returns to 12 teams. The other schools expected to remain in the conference include Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas and West Virginia.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said further expansion is still a possibility.
"We're always going to be open to new opportunities as they present themselves," Bowlsby said, per ESPN. "We're living in a very fast-changing athletic environment, and we will be at 14 for a while, we will drop back to 12, and as there are targets of opportunity or as there are situations that dictate that we change composition, we'll be prepared to do those things."
BYU announced it will join the Big 12 starting in 2023, and per The Athletic's Max Olson, Bowlsby said the three AAC schools will come in no later than July 1, 2024.
BYU will owe the West Coast Conference a $500,000 exit fee for the early departure, per The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach. However, AAC requires institutions to give 27-month notice before they leave and pay a $10 million buyout fee, per the bylaws.
Upon the news of three teams leaving, AAC commissioner Mike Aresco penned a scathing statement.
"Today’s news confirms what we have said all along regarding our status as a power conference," Aresco said, in part. "The irony that three of our schools are being asked to take the place of the two marquee schools which are leaving the Big 12 is not lost on us. Our conference was targeted for exceeding expectations in a system that wasn’t designed to accommodate our success."
Elsewhere in college football, there's also The Alliance between the PAC-12, Big Ten and ACC, which includes a "scheduling component for football and men's and women's basketball," per a conference statement.
How did the newly admitted and current Big 12 schools react to the move? Their Twitter accounts show it's with open arms.
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