The Big 12 Conference officially added four teams Saturday as the calendar turned to July 1.
Houston, Cincinnati, BYU and UCF join the conference nearly two years after Big 12 presidents voted to expand the league.
“It’s July 1. Big day,” Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark said. “Big day for the Big 12 Conference, our fans. Welcome UCF, Cincinnati, Houston, BYU. We are so thrilled to have you in the conference. We’ve waited a long time for this moment. Can’t wait to be on campus this fall. Welcome, welcome, welcome. Glad to have you in the Big 12.”
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The Big 12 is preparing to play the upcoming season with 14 teams before Texas and Oklahoma depart for the SEC in 2024.
Yormark said Thursday he would ideally like to keep the conference at 14 teams but would be OK with 12.
“I do think there’s strength in numbers, but if we end up being at 12, that’s great,” Yormark said during an interview on “BYU Sports Nation.” “I’d like to stay at 14, even with the departures of Texas and Oklahoma, candidly. We’ll see if that’s a possibility or not, but I love 12. I love the current makeup moving forward. In fact, I’m thrilled with it.”
“We’re not chasing a number. Again, whatever happens has to truly create value for the conference and fit within those guiding principles with respect to how we’re thinking about expansion. But it’s not so much a number that we’re thinking about. It’s really about that fit, and I think that’s critically important.”
Cincinnati, UCF and Houston arrive to the Big 12 from the American Athletic Conference, while BYU was independent.
“This is a historic day for the University of Houston. As I look back over the years, there have been many pivotal moments and influential individuals responsible for paving the way to this moment. This transformation has been 30 years in the making,” Vice President for Athletics Chris Pezman said. “Our institution, programs and student-athletes are eager to put U.H.’s own unique stamp on the Big 12 Conference.”