The Big 12 conference is looking towards a new era after announcing Friday that four new schools will join the league to replace departing Oklahoma and Texas.
The Big 12 presidents and chancellors voted unanimously on Friday morning to accept BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF.
There isn't a set date for these schools to join the Big 12, but it's possible that these new additions can join the conference by 2023.
If Oklahoma and Texas stay till the July 1, 2025 deadline, the new four schools would make the Big 12 a 14-team league for a couple of seasons.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby did not completely rule out expanding the conference even more.
“I think we're always going to be open to opportunities as they present themselves," Bowlsby said in a Zoom call with Houston officials on Friday. “We're living in a very fast-changing athletic environment, and we will be at 14 (teams) for a while, we’ll 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 depends on football to keep a national footprint in college athletics, but Cincinnati and Houston provide strong football and basketball programs. Houston recently made the 2021 Final Four while Cincinnati is starting a new regime in November with new head coach, Wes Miller.
UCF has a brand new head football coach in 2021 with former Auburn coach, Gus Malzahn. The Golden Knights are a competitive basketball team in the American Athletic Conference with Johnny Dawkins coaching the squad.
West Virginia fans will be most familiar with Houston head football coach and former WVU coach, Dana Holgorsen. Holgorsen promised to build the Mountaineers into a national title contending program, but fell short of that promise before leaving Morgantown at the beginning of 2019.
Right now, it may be a tall task for Holgorsen to maintain his current coaching position at Houston. In his third season, Holgorsen is currently 0-1 after a season opening loss to Texas Tech. Overall, Holgorsen has gone 7-13 in his first two seasons with a loss in the New Mexico Bowl.
With the additions of these schools, there is a question about the current revenue stream of the Big 12. Bowlsby said that it is too early to know how it will change.
“Really, it's not a time when I could sit here and forecast, it's going to be worth this much more or this much less," Bowlsby said. "That isn't the nature of it. I think live sports is always going to be a valuable commodity, and if you have live sports with competition among the very best universities that you can put together in an alliance, you have a chance to go forward and do good things.”
“That's what we expect from ourselves. That's what we will take into the early years of competition, and that's what we'll take into the marketplace when it's time in '24 to begin talking with our media partners and others that may have interest in the inventory,” Bowlsby added.