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Could BYU Join The Big 12 in 2022? In Short, Yes

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Tournament-Iowa State vs Oklahoma State William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

One month ago was a great day for BYU fans when on September 10 BYU officially accepted an invite to join the Big 12 Conference in 2023.

Joining in 2023 means BYU would play out football, basketball and other sports this year and next year before joining the Big 12.

Is there any shot BYU could join the Big 12 a year sooner starting in 2022?

The short answer is yes. Let me preface that by saying the most likely scenario is that BYU joins in 2023 as planned. However, multiple sources have told me that BYU could join beginning in 2022. One source specifically said that there is an “outside chance” that BYU could join in 2022. A few things would need to happen.

One scenario, and maybe the most likely if BYU was to join early, is that all non-football sports would join in 2022 and football would join in 2023. The WCC buyout is tiny, with a maximum of One Million Dollars if BYU gave less than 12 months notice. That’s pocket change for billionaire Ryan Smith all the donors that would pay that in a heart beat.

BYU’s 2022 football schedule is great, headlined by Oregon, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Baylor and others. If the Big 12 let BYU’s non-football sports join a year early then I believe BYU would take that in a heart beat. BYU has a great relationship with the WCC and wouldn’t want to ruffle feathers, but when push came to shove I believe BYU would jump a year early if possible. The big blocker is if the Big 12 would want that. Would they want just BYU’s non-football sports to join in 2022 when UCF, Cincinnati, Houston, and BYU football join in 2023? They may not want to, especially if Texas and Oklahoma have any say.

Which brings us to the biggest wild cards in this — Texas and Oklahoma. The two schools currently aren’t scheduled to join the SEC until 2025. They have a massive buyout they’d have to pay if they leave before then, but I’m sure fans and donors will get more anxious to join the SEC the closer we get to 2025. If those two schools join in 2022, then I believe the Big 12 would invite BYU to join next season in all sports and they and the tv partners would help BYU pay the 7-8 buyouts they’d have to potentially pay to next season’s cancelled opponents if they’d have to.

Below is what I think the most likely scenarios are.

  1. BYU joins the Big 12 in 2023 as scheduled.
  2. BYU pays the WCC buyout and non-football sports start in 2022, football joins in 2023.
  3. BYU joins the Big 12 for all sports in 2022.

BYU is just fine the next couple years as a football independent and as a WCC member, but wouldn’t joining the Big 12 a year early be fun, especially in basketball? I’d be fine if football waited until 2023, but if BYU could swing bringing over men’s hoops (and the rest of the sports) to the Big 12 in 2022 I would be ecstatic. The WCC has been great to BYU, but starting in the Big 12 in hoops a year sooner would be a dream. Mark Pope would have another chip to float in recruiting this offseason when scouring the transfer portal, and we could get teams like Kansas and Baylor in the Marriott Center next season.