Big 12 conference changes affect prospective college students


Photo Courtesy of Michael Norris

Warming up, the Brigham Young University football team prepares for their game against Arizona State University. The game was held at Lavell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah on Saturday, September 18, 2021. BYU was invited to join the BIG 12 athletic conference on September 10, the day before playing their biggest rivals, University of Utah.

Christi Norris and Alyssa Clark

In order to expand the league, the Big 12 NCAA conference announced on Sept. 10 that they will be adding Brigham Young University, University of Central Florida, University of Cincinnati and the University of Houston in the 2023 school year.

The Big 12 currently has 10 schools, two of which are private schools. The Big 12 is headquartered in Irving, TX. As it is a part of the NCAA, it is a Division 1 league in all sports and has 12 affiliates – eight in wresting, one in women’s equestrian, one in women’s gymnastics and two for women’s rowing. The addition of the four colleges is due to the loss of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC league. The new scheduling for these schools will require difficult standards and bring on new competition.

As smoke rises from the field, students from Brigham Young University, better known as BYU, cheer for their football team. BYU is currently 5-0 this season and will play their next game at Lavell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah on Saturday, Oct. 9 against Boise State University. This will be their 2021 homecoming game. Photo Courtesy of Michael Norris

The Power Five is an over-reaching term to describe the largest conferences in the NCAA: Big 10, Big 12, Southern Eastern Conference (SEC), PAC-12 and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). ‘Power Five’ is not defined by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and no one knows where it came from.

“The Power Five is still the Power Five,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in an article with CBS. “We feel this is a very strong, solid, powerful first step to say things will be OK. Things will be better. We’re willing to be collaborative.”

Due to the change of schedule, the upcoming 2022 season will bring many new competitors for the five teams.

“Essentially it allows us to play consistently better competition,” BYU student Michael Norris said. “Giving us better national spotlight, which for football means better chances for good bowl games or the playoffs. It’s also a recruiting boost as we can now claim to be a ‘power 5’ school.”

The schools are preparing for the new competition. The University of Houston is No. 1 in their conference, the ACC.

“Joining the Big 12 Conference is a historic step in our institutional journey and signifies the tremendous growth and success attained academically and athletically over the last decade,” President of the University of Houston, Renu Khator, said in an article published by the school. “Our expectations for our University remain high, our aspirations continue to be bold, and we embrace this new opportunity to compete at the highest levels in all we do.”

The University of Cincinnati recently rose to No. 5 in the Associated Press college football poll and they’re ranked as the fifth school in the ACC.

“While there are financial benefits to our conference move, including a significantly enhanced position to secure a long-term media-rights agreement consistent with our investment in athletics, just as important is the access the Big 12 Conference will provide to our teams.” University of Cincinnati’s director of athletics, John Cunningham, said in an article published by the school. “Our goal is to win national championships, and by joining the Big 12, all of our teams will have more avenues to do so. We also will witness a higher level of recruiting, the enhancement of our national brand, and an expected heightened awareness of our institution across the world.”

The University of Central Florida, the fourth school joining the Big 12, has an acceptance rate of 44% and is the eighth school in the ACC.

“Here at UCF, we are in the business of providing the best possible opportunities for our student-athletes to thrive while they are here and to have post-collegiate career success,” University of Central Florida’s Vice President and Director of Athletics, Terry Mohajir, said in an article published by the school. “We are convinced that competing as a member of the Big 12 Conference absolutely will help us accomplish those goals.”

Students are ‘excited’ for the changes that will effect school spirit and new rivalries.

“The student section has been crazy this year, especially after kicking off the season with a win against our rivals,” PHS alumni and current BYU freshman Annie Sorensen said. “BYU joining the Big 12 basically means that we have an increased price in our team. Everybody supports. Everybody cheers. Everybody shows up. It’s been awesome.”