Reports: BYU could receive invitation to join Big 12 Conference this month


FILE – BYU football players enter the field to warm up for an NCAA college football game against Utah in Provo, Utah, in this Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, file photo. A deal BYU has made available to its football players could test how much allowing athletes to be compensated by outside companies for name, image and likeness can be used as a competitive advantage. On Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, BYU announced Built Brands —- a Utah-based company that makes protein-heavy snacks —- will give the opportunity for all 123 members of its football team to be paid to promote its products. (AP Photo/George Frey, File)

PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Multiple reports state that BYU could receive an invitation to join the Big 12 Conference as soon as this month.

BYU has been an independent in football and member of the West Coast Conference since 2011, but Brett McMurphy of Action Network reported Friday that the Cougars could join Cincinnati, Houston and UCF could receive invitations to join as soon as the end of September.

“All of those schools reached out to us,” a Big 12 source with knowledge of the discussions said. “It wasn’t like we poached them. They all made the initial communication.”

ESPN is reporting those four schools are preparing to submit applications to join the conference.

The schools could be approved for admission as early as a Sept. 10 meeting of Big 12 presidents, according to Sports Illustrated, which first reported the story.

“Things are moving very quickly,” one source told ESPN on Friday. “There’s obvious momentum to get votes to the board.”

The Big 12 has been scrambling to add members ever since Oklahoma and Texas both announced they would be leaving to joining the SEC.

Since BYU does not currently have a conference affiliation, it could join the Big 12 for the 2022 season.

Cincinnati, Houston and UCF would have to give the American Athletic Conference a 27-month notice and pay a $10-million buyout. But a higher buyout for an earlier exit could be negotiated.

Currently, the Big 12 has eight schools without Oklahoma and Texas. They are Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia.

According to reports, Boise State, Memphis, SMU and USF were also being considered.

Oklahoma and Texas have said they will honor their grant-of-rights agreement before joining the SEC on July 1, 2025. If that holds true, it’s possible the Big 12 operates as a 14-team conference for a year, with the new members competing alongside the outgoing conference co-founders. It’s also possible BYU, an FBS independent, joins the Big 12 before the American schools.

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