BYU to the Big 12 is really picking up steam. Reports came out from The Athletic and ESPN yesterday of BYU being the top Big 12 candidate and that an invite could be extended during the college football season.
Insider Brett McMurphy expanded on that Friday morning, saying a Big 12 invite could come “by the end of the month.” From the report:
BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF have emerged as the Big 12’s expansion choices and the league could extend official invitations by the end of this month, sources told The Action Network.
“The league has decided to focus on those four and right now no one else is being targeted,” a source said.
McMurphy also reported that BYU and the other 3 schools could join before Texas and OU leave the Big 12, and BYU could join as soon as next year.
As far as its new league members, the Big 12 prefers to add all-sports members and not football-only members, a source said.
“There’s no definitive date (when the official invites would be extended), but I think it’s better it happens in September, rather than later on,” a source said. “Particularly with those four (BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, UCF).”
BYU is the Big 12’s clear-cut top choice, sources said. Because the Cougars are an independent in football, adding BYU “could be less complicated, but they have a lot of future scheduling contracts (they would have to figure out with other schools).”
BYU is a member of the West Coast Conference in its non-football sports.
Sources said it’s possible BYU could join the Big 12 as early as the 2022 season and then the three American Conference teams — Cincinnati, Houston and UCF — may not join until a year or two later.
BYU has less obstacles to join the Big 12 sooner, since BYU has no conference buyout and the AAC schools need to give 27 months notice and a 10 million dollar exit fee. UConn, however, provided 12 months notice and a 17 million dollar exit fee in 2022. BYU could potentially join in 2022 — even if it is just football only for a year — and then the other schools and BYU’s other sports could join in 2023. McMurphy saying the Big 12 is not looking to add football only members is encouraging.
BYU would need to figure out potential buyout of future games. BYU has had clauses saying it can cancel games with 18 months notice if it receives a Power 5 conference invite.
One other report form Mark Berman, a Houston TV sports director, says that the Big 12 presidents will meet Monday to discuss expansion.
Berman’s report sounds like that could be an official vote, meaning we could hear as soon as next week regarding an official Big 12 invite.
Nothing is official yet and we’ve seen BYU get burned multiple times in conference realignment, but this seems real and I am confident BYU will receive a Big 12 invite and accept.