Forget the round-robin football schedule that has become an integral part of the identity of the Big 12.
Get ready for the conference divisions to return for the first time since 2010. The move became all but inevitable after the Big 12 added BYU, Cincinnati, Central Florida and Houston with Texas and Oklahoma exiting looming.
Because there can be some overlap between newcomers and SEC defectors, things might seem shaky for a few years.
A source close to the process confirmed that the conference’s athletic directors met last month in December and a six-person task force is currently reviewing the options. The group is expected to provide an update in March to Kansas City athletic directors at the Big 12 basketball tournaments. A final decision could “potentially” come at the May 2-4 conference annual meetings in Scottsdale, Utah. Arizona, the source said. The conference board of school presidents and chancellors is also expected to approve divisional splits in late May.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was on his way to the NCAA convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, and did not immediately return a phone message.
The news was first reported Tuesday by CBS Sports.
The school addition and subtraction process will be anything but simple.
When Texas and Oklahoma announced their release in July, people expected it to be sooner rather than later. But so far, the Big 12 is holding fast to the July 1, 2025 release date, unless Texas and the OU are willing to pay massive early release fees for violating the grant of rights. the conference.
BYU has indicated its intention to join the conference for football beginning in the 2023-24 season.
Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida are considering a schedule that would see them leave the American Athletic and join the Big 12 on July 1, 2024, although it’s possible a negotiated settlement could be reached by 2023.
From now on, that means the new-look Big 12 will have 11 schools by 2023-24, 14 schools for 2024-25, and 12 schools going forward for 2025 and beyond — assuming it doesn’t. there is no further expansion.
What to do with Oklahoma and Texas over two seasons is the biggest challenge facing the committee.
One school of thought, the source said, would be to put the Sooners and Longhorns in the same division. That way, the conference wouldn’t risk the embarrassment of having two short-term members playing for the league title. This year’s Baylor-Oklahoma State championship meeting was the first time since 1997 that neither Texas nor OU were in the title game. The league game was discontinued from 20011 to 2017.
And the annual Texas-OU Red River meeting in Dallas would remain a conference game.
The goal of a smooth transition could force Texas and OU to go their separate ways. That way, no more shuffling would be needed once the Sooners and Longhorns were gone.
There are other questions concerning geography.
Does the Big 12 ultimately go with a north-south or east-west alignment? In a conference that could potentially span three time zones from Orlando to Morgantown, from Waco to Provo, what makes the most sense?
The Big 12 plans to stay with the nine-game conference schedule, seen as giving the conference the best shot at qualifying for the college football playoffs.
At the moment, other sports are less likely to be impacted than football.
With a season-ending conference tournament, men’s and women’s basketball envision a division with an 18-game conference schedule.
Big 12 realignment timeline breakdown:
July 26, 2021: Texas and Oklahoma notify they are leaving the Big 12 effective July 1, 2025. Both accept SEC membership later that week.
September 10, 2021: The Big 12 votes to add four new members – BYU, Cincinnati, Central Florida and Houston.
May 2022: The sporting directors and presidents of the big 12 could give their approval to a new divisional composition for football.
July 2023: BYU is expected to join the Big 12.
July 2024: Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston are expected to join the Big 12.
July 1, 2025: The current date for Texas and Oklahoma to leave the Big 12 for the SEC.
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