HOUSTON – KPRC 2 Sports has confirmed the multiple reports that the University of Houston is one of the focal points of the Big 12′s adjustment for a new era without Texas and Oklahoma.
On @Big12Conference expansion. Sources confirm to me reports they are targeting UH/UCF/CINN/BYU. If they add 2 more to get to 14 schools: COLORADO ST/BOISE ST/SMU/MEMPHIS are option. Play in fall of 2023 "Very realistic." Vote likely next week. @UHCougars @UHouston @KPRC2— Randy McIlvoy (@KPRC2RandyMc) September 3, 2021
Many Houston fans still remember the efforts of the school in accomodating the Big 12′s contemplating of expansion back in 2016 and the process that followed, only for the conference to choose to stay with the status quo, effectively rejecting UH.
Five years later, much has changed in the college landscape. Texas and Oklahoma both decided to leave the Big 12 for the SEC starting in 2025. Not only that, the Big 12 was also not part of the recent three-conference alignment by the ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12. It is fair to say the Big 12′s future without Texas and Oklahoma has come into question.
Now, as reported first by The Athletic and later confirmed by other outlets including KPRC 2, the Big 12 is evaluating their options in expanding to fill that gap, and the University of Houston is mentioned in these reports as one of the four main schools being targeted along with Brigham Young University, University of Central Florida, and Cincinnati.
And new information from KPRC 2′s Randy McIlvoy: according to his sources, if the Big 12 adds two more schools beyond the initial four, they could come from a group including SMU, Boise State, Colorado State, and Memphis.
Athletically, Houston has plenty on their resume to attract attention. For instance, UH men’s basketball is coming off a trip to the Final Four. The football team showed its potential with a recent New Year’s Six bowl win in 2015 on its resume. UH is in one of the nation’s biggest markets for audience outreach, which would likely be important in any potential Big 12 television partnerships.
This has not been put to the vote yet among the schools currently in the Big 12. In order for the schools to join, eight of the 10 members -- Texas and Oklahoma are included in the 10 -- have to approve. Houston, UCF, and Cincinnati are currently part of the American Athletic Conference and would need to give the AAC 27 months notice and then each pay an exit fee of $10 million to join the Big 12.