Houston and the other AAC teams would give a 23-month notice and likely pay an increased exit fee to leave for the Big 12GETTY IMAGES
BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF are "expected to apply for Big 12 membership" this week and then "could be approved for admission in a meeting of Big 12 presidents Sept. 10," according to sources cited by Ross Dellenger of SI.com. The league "has the eight votes needed for expansion," and the four teams would join "by 2023 or, at the very latest, 2024." Still, that timeline is "fluid and has been described as optimistic, but not unrealistic." Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby has "even gone on site visits, most recently taking a trip to meet with Houston officials" last Thursday. In the current timeline, the three AAC teams "would give a 23-month notice and likely pay an increased exit fee" from the normal one of $10M. BYU is not a member of a conference in football, but "must give the West Coast Conference notice for its other sports leaving the league." A Big 12 source "described the attraction of the prospective new additions being rooted in both TV market/audience and football relevancy." College football insiders believe that with the four additions, the Big 12 "will retain its status as an Autonomy 5 league." The four new members are "not expected to immediately get full distribution shares" in the Big 12 (SI.com, 9/3). Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel reported that as of last night, applications from the four schools were "expected to come in within the next 48 hours." Sources said that Big 12 presidents yesterday held a meeting "to go over the impending applications" (TWITTER.com, 9/6).
TIMELINE NOT SET IN STONE: In Dallas, Chuck Carlon cited sources as saying that while the Big 12 ADs have "settled on the four top expansion candidates," the board "still has to be briefed and vote" this week (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/4). THE ATHLETICs Khan, Olson, Williams and Feldman cited a Big 12 source who "cautioned this process is still 'highly fluid' and that extending invitations by next Friday would be an aggressive timeline, though not an impossible one" (THEATHLETIC.com, 9/3). ESPN.com Dinich & Rittenberg cited sources as saying that Houston, UCF and Cincinnati "haven't officially informed" the AAC of "their intent to leave" (ESPN.com, 9/4). In Utah, Brandon Judd noted as an independent in football, BYU "could theoretically join the Big 12 next season" for that sport. There are questions over how it would be for BYU to "handle its future scheduling agreements in football." The Cougars have "at least 10 opponents secured each season through 2024" (DESERET NEWS, 9/4).
TV WINDFALL: CBSSPORTS.com's Sallee & Dodd cited sources as saying that the Big 12 "lost at least 40% of its value with the departure of Texas and Oklahoma." However, the reconfigured Big 12 with four additions "could earn $20 million-$25 million per season, softening the financial blow." For the four schools invited to the Big 12, the move "would be a giant step revenue-wise." AAC schools "currently average $7 million in media rights revenue annually," compared to "$37 million annually" for Big 12 schools. Adding UCF "would give the Big 12 a presence in the major television market of Orlando." Cincinnati "would bring more of a Midwest footprint to pair with West Virginia." BYU "would add in the Salt Lake City, Utah, market and an international fan base" while Houston "would help the Big 12 maintain a strong presence in Texas" (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/3).
KNIGHTS IN SHINING ARMOR: In Orlando, Mike Bianchi writes UCF would "immediately become" the Big 12's "most exciting and appealing national brand." College football media and fans have "spent more time in recent years talking about UCF" than they have about the "rest of the remaining Big 12 teams combined." Data analysis company Navigate found that UCF’s national TV viewership "would be fourth in the Big 12 right behind Texas, Oklahoma and TCU." For UCF, accepting an invitation to join the Big 12 "is a no-brainer," especially if BYU, Houston and Cincinnati "also are joining." Bianchi: "Even a watered-down Big 12 without Texas and Oklahoma is a better league than the American Athletic Conference" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/4).