The University of Cincinnati officially chairs the Big 12 Conference.
The university announced on Friday that it had accepted an invitation to the Big 12 by July 1, 2024 at the latest.
“With 25 years of history, 69 national team champions and 702 national individual champions, the Big 12 is one of the leading sports conferences in the country,” said UC President Neville G. Pinto. “UC’s membership in this Power 5 conference will position us for even greater success on and off the field.”
Two days according to the University of Cincinnati officials confirms that the school has officially submitted its application To join the Big 12, the conference board voted for an invitation to membership in Cincinnati.
UC’s Board of Trustees unanimously authorized Pinto on Friday to remove the university from the American Athletic Conference and join the Big 12.
“We’re really excited about our position, our profile,” said John Cunningham, UC Director of Athletics. It all comes together, it’s the culmination of a lot of work, and we can’t be more excited about where we are. “
In an effort to fill the void left by longtime members Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Southeastern Conference, the Big 12 invited other American Athletic Conference schools in central Florida and Houston, as well as the now independent Brigham Young University .
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Effective immediately, Texas and Oklahoma will join the SEC in July 2025.
“This Big 12 invitation only confirms our basic belief: UC has earned its place at the Power 5 table,” said Pinto.
The AAC has an exit fee of $ 10 million and requires its members to give 27 months’ notice. If a school drops out 27 months ago, the drop-out fee increases to an agreed amount.
“We expect the three outgoing schools to adhere to the conference rules to ensure a friendly and orderly transition,” said AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco on Friday. “We wish you continued success for the future.”
While it remains unclear how much Cincinnati will receive from the Big 12 for an initial annual payout, the move to conference is sure to put the university in a much more comfortable position financially. The members of the conference respectively received about $ 40 million in television revenue last year. Cincinnati currently receives approximately $ 7 million in television revenue annually in the AAC.
“While our move to the conference has financial benefits, including a significantly improved position to secure a long-term media rights agreement in line with our investment in athletics, the access the Big 12 Conference gives our teams is just as important. ” said Cunningham. “Our goal is to win national championships, and by joining the Big 12, all of our teams will have more opportunities to do so. We will also see higher levels of recruitment, strengthening of our national brand, and expected higher awareness.” our institution around the world. “
UC has invested $ 173 million in renovating Nippert Stadium and Fifth Third Arena over the past few years. The increase in revenue will allow the university to advance its plan to build a permanent indoor soccer practice facility and other ventures.
It remains to be seen whether Cincinnati needs to add a softball program. The Big 12 were constantly competing for national championships in the sport, with Oklahoma winning five national titles, including one that year.
Though Cincinnati has historically and traditionally been a basketball school, UC soccer coach Luke Fickell has positioned the Bearcats as arguably the best Group of Five program in the country. However, freshman UC men’s basketball coach Wes Miller said he’s excited about the opportunities being a part of the Big 12 will bring to his program.
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“We are very excited about this upcoming trip,” said Miller. “The Big 12 is one of the premier leagues in college basketball, and Cincinnati’s recent and historic successes go together incredibly well. It’s an opportunity that goes beyond Fifth Third Arena and will have an immeasurable impact on our university and city. “
Miller, who was hired in April, will try to catch up with Fickell. After winning the program’s first AAC championship and completing last season No. 8 in the College Football Playoff Ranking, Fickell’s Bearcats are currently No. 7 in the Associated press survey and No. 8 in USA TODAY Sports AFCA coach survey and are the Favorite to win the AAC this season again.
More:The University of Cincinnati Bearcat football moves up in the AP and USA Today polls
“This is an incredible opportunity not just for our football program but for the entire Bearcats community,” said Fickell. “I would like to thank our University and Athletics Administration for putting us in this position. Our goal has always been to play for championships and we believe this move to the Big 12 is a huge boost.”
Fickell signed a contract extension last year, which will keep him in Cincinnati until 2026. The extension pays Fickell $ 3.4 million a year, making the 48-year-old coach the second highest college football coach in the group of five. Houston’s Dana Holgorsen ($ 3.7 million) is the highest-paid.
Fickell said Tuesday he didn’t know about Cincinnati joining the Big 12.
“If that’s rightly true, it’ll be a bit of a shock,” said Fickell, who will be 36-14 years old for five seasons at Cincinnati. “Was it five or six months of work? Maybe. But whoever did it kept a really good secret. How much does that affect us? I don’t know are the things where you just say, hey, we’ve got a lot dealing with 125 people trying to find a way to bring it all together, you trust and believe that the supervisors, the president and AD and them if they i am sure this is for the best and there is a chance. I am sure they will be aggressive to do it. “
Madeline Mitchell at the Enquirer contributed to this story.