Academic Rankings - Current and Prospective Big 12 Members

Most of the conversation about Big 12 expansion has been about what prospective members can add in terms of athletic quality, competition, recruiting avenues, and market access. All extremely important, as one would expect with what is primarily an athletic affiliation of universities.

One aspect that is important to nerds like me, and probably more than a few administrators at Big 12 member schools, is academic reputation. Make no mistake, an athletics program can affect the value of a degree. For just one example, look at the sustained increase in the number of applications and resulting lower acceptance rate following TCU's Rose Bowl victory. While there are other factors at play more directly related to academics, it is also no coincidence that the value of a TCU degree has risen over the past 16 years, along with the rising fortunes of all TCU athletics programs.

To some extent, conference affiliation can and does affect academic reputation. It certainly isn't the be all, end all, of conference affiliation. Otherwise, Rice would be on the Big 12 short list. That said, it is one factor to add to the mix, and while not an automatic qualifier/disqualifier it is a factor I would argue is more than deserving of consideration.

Though there are several metrics used to assess academic quality, the following is a list of current and prospective members of the Big 12, along with each university's most recent US News & World Report ranking.

Tulane - 41

Texas - 52

UConn - 57

SMU - 61

BYU - 66

Baylor - 72

TCU - 82

Iowa State - 108

Oklahoma - 108

Kansas - 115

Temple - 115

Colorado State - 127

Cincinnati - 140

Kansas State - 146

Oklahoma State - 149

South Florida - 156

Texas Tech - 168

Central Florida - 168

West Virginia - 175

Houston - 187

One note: I have omitted the Air Force Academy, since US News ranks them in the separate Liberal Arts category. AFA is #29 in that ranking.

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