CINCINNATI — Moving day is set for the University of Cincinnati as the Bearcats have its starting date to join the Big 12 Conference earlier than many expected.
Cincinnati will join the Big 12 on July 1, 2023, the university announced Friday.
What You Need To Know
- Cincinnati will join the Big 12 on July 1, 2023
- The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors voted Sept. 10 to extend membership invitations to UC, as well as BYU, UCF and the University of Houston
- Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida currently are members of the American Athletic Conference, and BYU is independent
- The University of Texas and University of Oklahoma are leaving the Big 12
The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors voted Sept. 10 to extend membership invitations to UC, as well as Brigham Young University (BYU), the University of Central Florida and the University of Houston.
Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida currently are members of the American Athletic Conference, and BYU is independent.
Many speculated the transition to the Big 12 would happen before the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma leave for the Southeastern Conference when or before their existing contracts expire in 2025. UC previously released a statement saying the move would take place “no later than July 1, 2024.”
“Today is another milestone in our journey towards participation in the Big 12,” Director of Athletics John Cunningham said. “We welcome this accelerated timeline and are thrilled that a majority of our current student-athletes will be able to prove themselves at the ‘next level.’ It’s imperative that our whole athletic department and our entire fanbase embrace this challenge together. As I said before, our goal is to compete for championships on the first day we enter the Big 12. Now that we have that date, it’s time to ensure we position ourselves at the head of the table.”
The AAC is labeled as a “Group of 5” conference, considered as the second tier of football conferences. It was something that caused problems for UC’s football program, which eventually could break into the College Football Playoff in the 2021 season.
“Since the monumental announcement in September, the Bearcats have more than proven they will be ready to contend,” the university said in a statement. “In addition to the historic football season that saw UC advance to the Cotton Bowl and finish among the nation’s top eight for a second straight season, the entire athletic department had tremendous success on and off the field.”
UC said it also will be ready to compete in non-football sports as well.
“Five different student-athletes collected conference player of the year honors, the track and field teams broke 20 school records, tennis won a school-record 11 straight matches and men’s golf finished in the top five of five different tournaments—among many other highlights,” according to the university.
Other Big 12 member schools include Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas Christian University Texas Tech and West Virginia.