Jentezen Smith

As of July 30th, the University of Texas and Oklahoma University both announced their intentions to join the South Eastern Conference (SEC), leaving the Big 12 Conference with large shoes to fill in the two school’s absences. The two schools are under contract with the Big 12 until June 30th, 2025, according to espn.com. The universities could buy out their media deal with the conference before then, but that would cost the two schools “at least $75 million to $80 million.”With Texas and Oklahoma departing this left the Big 12 Conference with an adamant need for expansion, to fill this need the conference extended invitations on September 10th, 2021, to Birmingham Young University (BYU), the University of Cincinnati, the University of Houston and the University of Central Florida (UCF). “Extending an invitation required a supermajority of the remaining eight Big 12 athletic directors”, according to cbssports.com. “However, the Big 12 notes that the vote to add these new members was unanimous.”According to cbssports.com, BYU and Houston both accepted their invitations into the Big 12 “within hours of receiving them”, Cincinnati and UCF also accepted their invitations later within that same day.Every university that joined the conference made a statement on it, “We’re ready at BYU. Today’s news about joining the Big 12 is huge”, Tom Holmoe said, BYU athletic director.

“Joining the Big 12 Conference is a historic step in our institutional journey and signifies the tremendous growth and success attained academically and athletically over the last decade”, said Renu Khator, Houston President. “Our goal is to win national championships, and by joining the Big 12, all of our teams will have more avenues to do so,” said John Cunningham, Cincinnati athletic director. “We also will witness a higher level of recruiting, the enhancement of our national brand, and a heightened awareness of our institution across the world.”“This is a landmark day for anyone ever associated with UCF or UCF Athletics” said Terry Mohajir, director of athletics. “I speak for all of us at UCF in expressing our excitement for the opportunities that lie ahead. I’m confident our Knight teams will rise to the challenges to come.”It can be inferred from the statements of each university representative that each school joining is optimistic about their future in the Big 12; each university has a lot to bring to the conference athletically as every school has had success in some way.In football Cincinnati is currently ranked 8th in the AP Top 25, “and finished No. 8 last season after winning 11 games and playing in the Peach Bowl”, according to theathletic.com.“BYU also won 11 games last year and ranked 11th in the final AP poll. UCF has played in three New Year’s Six/BCS bowl games since 2013”, according to theathletic.com. “Houston won the AAC and the Peach Bowl in 2015 and has won at least eight games 10 times since 2006. The four new Big 12 members have also reached the NCAA Tournament in men’s basketball at least once since the 2018-19 season, highlighted by Houston advancing to the Final Four earlier this year.”

Although the Big 12 Conference is adding four athletically gifted and accomplished universities, there is one big problem that these four additions to the conference cannot fully resolve, the loss of mass revenue from Oklahoma and Texas.The University of Texas brought in a conference leading $200,700,000, according to hookem.com. Meanwhile Oklahoma University brought in slightly less but a large amount of $159,286,136, according to collegefactual.com. The joint revenues between these school’s total to $359,986,136, with the two schools leaving to join the SEC the Big 12 is left with a gaping hole of revenue to fill.All according to collegefactual.com, BYU brings in the most revenue annually of the joining universities at $72,622,845, Cincinnati brings in $53,555,898, UCF brings in $68,359,639 and Houston brings in $68,285,574. When combined, all four universities bring in a total revenue of $262,823,956, this amount only makes up for 73% of the lost revenue from Oklahoma and Texas, totaling to a loss of $97,162,180 annually for the Big 12 Conference.While the conference adds four academically and athletically gifted universities, the loss of Oklahoma and Texas is an enormous financial downside to the newly arranged conference.

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