BYU to the Big 12: it was a long time coming, but Friday’s announcement made the move official.
The Provo school will join the Power Five conference for the 2023-24 athletic season, setting a new era in sports for the Cougars, and the news had the college athletics world buzzing.
National experts, as well as those closer to Utah, weighed in on what the move to the Big 12 Conference will mean for BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF.
What it means for BYU and the other Big 12 additions
The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel
Happy Big 12 expansion day.
Today is a big win for the conference from where it was six weeks ago. BYU Is a big national draw that will open new time slots. UCF and Cincinnati could compete for conference championships from Day 1.
Bob Bowlsby recovered nicely.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 10, 2021
The Athletic’s Max Olson
Bob Bowlsby on BYU and, you know, maybe some other schools:
“Speaking purely on a personal level, I enjoy working with people that I trust, that I like and that I know share the values that I have for intercollegiate athletics.”
— Max Olson (@max_olson) September 10, 2021
Texas Tech president and Big 12 board chair Lawrence Schovanec
Texas Tech president.Big 12 board chair: “In this process, we were looking for the best universities, the best athletic programs. It was a very easy decision to come to the point where we are today.”
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) September 10, 2021
Credit for BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg
One of my big takeaways from today: Tom Holmoe is a heck of an athletic director. BYU president said there’s no way Big 12 move happens without him.
Reconciling this with me being a Cal football season-ticket holder when he coached there. pic.twitter.com/L6suVzNTKv
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) September 10, 2021
The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach
I am not sure there is another fan base that loves its athletic director as much as BYU fans love Tom Holmoe.
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) September 10, 2021
What it means for BYU football
Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy
Former BYU athletic director Val Hale
Somewhere LaVell Edwards is smiling. Many people worked hard to make the Big 12 Conference and BYU a reality, but it never would have happened without the foundation built by LaVell. Well done, Coach!
— Val Hale (@UtahHale) September 10, 2021
Since 2015, only four Group of Five teams have finished within the top-12 of the Final AP Poll. They are the four teams joining the Big 12.
2017 UCF #6
2020 Cincinnati #8
2015 Houston #8
2020 BYU #11
2018 UCF #11 pic.twitter.com/Kzt5h7ZPz1
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) September 10, 2021
ESPN’s Bill Connelly
The Athletic’s Max Olson wrote that the four schools each bring a strong football brand to the Big 12: “All four schools can help bolster the Big 12’s Power 5 reputation in football. Cincinnati is currently No. 7 in the AP poll and finished No. 8 last season after winning 11 games and playing in the Peach Bowl. BYU also won 11 games last year and ranked 11th in the final AP poll. UCF has played in three New Year’s Six/BCS bowl games since 2013. Houston won the AAC and the Peach Bowl in 2015 and has won at least eight games 10 times since 2006.”
The Mercury News’ Jon Wilner wrote about how BYU football’s move from independence to the Big 12 could impact Pac-12 scheduling: “Essentially, the Pac-12 has reaped the benefits of having BYU in the conference without having BYU in the conference. The relationship is now in jeopardy. As a member of the Big 12, the Cougars will have fewer openings and less need to stock their schedule with Pac-12 opponents.”
Is basketball the biggest benefactor of the move?
NCAA.com’s Andy Katz
— Andy Katz (@TheAndyKatz) September 10, 2021
Stadium’s Jeff Goodman
From a hoops standpoint, the Big 12 getting Houston, BYU, Cincinnati and UCF is a nice save after losing Texas and Oklahoma.
Houston has been terrific under Kelvin Sampson, BYU is a national program, Cincinnati should get back to relevance under Wes Miller and UCF is solid.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) September 10, 2021
CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein
Two basketball related effects of this move:
1. The American Athletic Conference is now trending towards being what Conference-USA was when John Calipari was at Memphis — the Tigers and then everyone else.
2. Mark Pope has made BYU into his “next” job. Good for Cougars fans. https://t.co/geWbmWgOrK
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) September 10, 2021
The Athletic’s Kyle Tucker
As a basketball league, this is a big-time save for the Big 12. Add Houston off a Final Four, a Cincinnati program with six FF banners and a rising BYU under Mark Pope? I like it. https://t.co/voWd1YD07r
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) September 10, 2021
Oklahoma State basketball coach Mike Boynton
Reactions from Big 12 territory
Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades
Baylor president Linda Livingstone
Oklahoma State athletic director Chad Weiberg
Kansas State athletics
Texas Tech athletics
Big 12 Conference
Reactions from around Utah
CEO of Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, former Utah Jazz president Steve Starks
Huge congrats to BYU! Tom, Brian and everyone else down there deserve a ton of credit. And it will be great for our community to welcome the @Big12Conference schools to Utah every year.
I love that we have incredible colleges and universities in the state. https://t.co/UZe0iH8sAK
— Steve Starks (@StevenStarks) September 10, 2021
Former BYU basketball player Tyler Haws
BYU basketball player Trevin Knell
BYU football player Jaylon Vickers
A nod to BYU’s fan base
Former BYU linebacker Brady Poppinga
The biggest credit of @BYUCougars going to the @Big12Conference goes to the fans.The BYU fan base is what makes BYU Athletics as valuable as it is that the Big 12 is willing to make a number of unique concessions to have BYU part of their conference. Unbelievable loyalty over…
— Brady Poppinga (@BradyPoppinga) September 10, 2021
… the past decade to navigate through the treachery that was independence. No conference championships to look forward to. Minimal attractive games late in the season. But the BYU fan base stayed true and created a value that the Big 12 couldn’t refuse at this point.
— Brady Poppinga (@BradyPoppinga) September 10, 2021