PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – BYU’s long-awaited invite to join a Power-5 conference may be finally coming to an end.
According to a Yahoo report, the Big 12 Conference presidents are expected to approve of inviting BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida to join the conference.
A CBSSports.com report says that expansion with the four schools will receive a “rubber stamp” approval.
Even since leaving the Mountain West Conference in 2011, BYU has played as an independent in football and in the West Coast Conference in its other sports.
The move to the Big 12 would be for all BYU sports. BYU and the other three schools have reportedly already submitted applications to join the Big 12.
BYU, Houston, Cincinnati and UCF would join Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, TCU, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Baylor and Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Conference.
“Of all the possible options the Big 12 could have added, BYU was the most obvious,” wrote ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura. “It has a proud history and recent success in football, a national fan base and minimal red tape to cut through as an independent without a conference to leave.”
Texas and Oklahoma announced last month they will be leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. They are contractually obligated to stay in the Big 12 through 2025, but buyouts are likely to happen.
It is unclear if BYU would join the Big 12 in 2022 or wait until 2023. The Cougars already have a 12-game football schedule set for 2022. But as an independent, BYU has more freedom than UCF, Houston and Cincinnati, may have to wait to leave the American Athletic Conference and join in 2024.
The consensus among experts is all four schools will negotiate buyouts and join the Big 12 in 2023.
The Big 12 has operated with just ten teams since 2010. With 12 teams now on the horizon again, the Big 12 is expected to keep its Power-5 status.
Going into Week 2 of the college football season, Cincinnati is ranked 7th in the nation, while Iowa State is 9th. Baylor won the NCAA men’s basketball championship in April.