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BYU, Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston formally apply for entrance to Big 12 Conference

The ball is officially rolling on expansion for the Big 12.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 03 South Dakota at Kansas Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Big 12’s expansion ball is rolling quickly now, as Brett McMurphy and Yahoo are both reporting that BYU, Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston have all formally applied for entrance into the conference.

Per McMurphy, Big 12 presidents will vote to accept all four schools on Friday. This is just the latest step in Big 12 expansion in the face of the departure of Texas and Oklahoma.

A timeline for actual entrance into the conference is still up in the air, but various reports have BYU joining as soon as the 2022 season, with the other three schools joining in 2023.

Of course, Big 12 expansion brings with it a slew of other questions. One, from a TV standpoint, is: how does this impact the Big 12’s current TV contracts with ESPN and Fox?

Without Texas and Oklahoma, the Big 12’s future contracts will certainly be less valuable than they are, currently. The conference’s current TV deal pays each member about $37 million a year. Losing Texas and Oklahoma, but adding these four schools, will probably put the Big 12 around $20-$24 million per school per year.

It’s also not known yet if BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF will be eased in, like TCU and West Virginia were back in 2012. For the Frogs and Mountaineers, they received the full payout of the TV contract in year four of their membership.

As for the current TV deal, we’ll know more once the four schools have been formally invited, and we know when they’re joining.

There’s also a conversation brewing about whether or not the addition of four schools will allow Texas and Oklahoma to leave before 2025 without paying a buyout. As I understand it, the two are not linked. There is not currently a Big 12 bylaw that says any schools wishing to leave the conference can do so at a discounted/zero buyout because the conference is adding other schools.

Of course, Texas and Oklahoma could simply vote no on expansion, but that wouldn’t do much either. The Big 12 requires 75% yes votes on expansion, and the remaining eight teams seem to be in lock-step on this decision. Thus, the 80% of yay votes would get BYU, Cincy, UCF, and Houston into the conference.

Things will continue to unfold in the coming days, and we’ll have clarity as they do. But for now, it’s almost safe to welcome BYU, Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston to the Big 12.