According to multiple media reports as of Friday, the Big 12 Conference is poised to invite the UCF Knights to join its league next week, alongside BYU, Cincinnati and Houston.
A source with knowledge of UCF’s situation has told Black & Gold Banneret’s Luke Sarris that the league will admit UCF starting with the 2023-2024 athletic season, with an announcement possibly coming as early as Wednesday:
Sources have told me #UCF to the @Big12Conference became official this morning and the announcement will come this Wednesday. There are a lot of different timelines floating around but they all seem to have the consensus that we should know something next week.— Luke Sarris (@LukeSarrisUCF) September 3, 2021
A report from UCFSports.com’s Brandon Helwig also stated an announcement could come Wednesday.
However, UCF has not confirmed that reporting.
Ross Dellenger of SI reports that the four schools will formally apply for membership this week, and their approval will come at a meeting of the ten Big 12 presidents next Friday, September 10th:
UCF, UH, BYU & Cincy expected to apply for Big 12 membership next week & league presidents have the votes to admit them next Friday, sources tell me & @ByPatForde.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) September 3, 2021
Plan is to join in 2023, conceivably before OU & Texas leave, to create a 14-team league.https://t.co/okf7WGs0Tk
The Big 12’s by-laws state that to admit a new member, 75% of current members must vote yes. That means eight of the ten current members would have to vote in the affirmative to make an invitation official.
There are multiple reports about the timeline for all four schools to formally join, with 2023 being the consensus among reporters. But that depends when Texas and Oklahoma actually leave the conference for the SEC. Currently, they are set to stay through 2025, but are expected to exit sooner than that via negotiations with the conference.
Brett McMurphy of Action Network reports that there is a possibility there could be at least one year of overlap between the new members and Texas and Oklahoma, meaning the Big 12 would temporarily be a 14-team league:
BYU, Cincinnati, Houston & UCF could receive invitations from Big 12 this month, sources told @ActionNetworkHQ. BYU could join earlier than others & all 4 could join before OU/Texas leave for SEC, source said. Boise, Memphis, SMU & USF also were considered https://t.co/kLJoqNKvvl— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 3, 2021
According to The American’s current by-laws, schools looking to exit early must provide 27 months’ notice and pay a $10 million exit fee.
27 months from September 2021 would be December 2023.
As far as payout, remember that the Big 12’s current TV contract runs out in 2025. That deal with Fox and ESPN pays each school $37 million per year. UCF and its AAC brethren currently make some $7 million per year through that conference’s media deal with ESPN, which runs through 2032.
It has been estimated that the Big 12 minus Texas and Oklahoma could lose some 40-50% of that value, but adding the four schools should help recuperate a significant portion of that lost value through TV viewership and streaming subscriptions.
Regardless of how the final result breaks down, and assuming these reports are true , this means the UCF Knights’ program will finally be a member of an Autonomous Five conference after more than a quarter of a century of trying to join.
This is a developing story. We will update it as more news arises.