September 14, 2021
Subscriber-only video: The new Big 12 Conference
What national basketball insider Missy Heidrick is hearing
What’s it all mean?
Less than 60 days ago, college athletics was turned upside down yet again with those two little words that can give any administrator a massive headache – conference realignment. Texas and Oklahoma announced they were moving to the SEC and the Big 12 Conference was in limbo. Would the remaining eight schools stay together or would they need to find new homes? The Pac 12 announced they would not expand and then entered into The Alliance with the Big Ten and ACC conferences, all in the spirit of consolidating P-5 level leagues for scheduling and competition for all sports.
The Big 12 quickly decided to go on offense instead of defense and extended four invitations that were happily accepted to start the next evolution of this league. Cincinnati, Houston, BYU and Central Florida (UCF) all announced last week they would be joining the Big 12, starting in 2023. Each of these institutions is unique in their own way and add something different to a conference smack in the middle of the US. This league now expands to new markets and geographical centers where recruiting can be impacted and teams can receive exposure in other parts of the country. There are untapped opportunities to expand the brands of these schools and athletic departments and positively impact the experience of all student-athletes.
Women’s basketball in the Big 12 will look different but will very competitive, positioning itself as one of the top leagues in the nation. UCF and Houston have been powerhouses in the American Athletic Conference while Cincinnati looks to continue its rebuild. BYU has been a consistent winner in women’s basketball and with recruiting pipelines on the west coast and internationally in countries like New Zealand, the “new” Big 12 women’s basketball race will be fun to watch.
When will Texas and Oklahoma be headed out and to the SEC? Before 2025? Stay tuned.
Written by Missy Heidrick
I am a former shooting guard at Kansas State and spent almost 20 years working in Higher Education and Division 1 athletics. I am currently a basketball analyst for television and radio, contributing correspondent at The Next, WBB Naismith Award board of selectors member and run my own consulting business. I am a proud mother of two and wife to a patient husband who is almost as big of a sports junkie as I am!