In the midst of conference realignment rumors, the Kansas Jayhawks have learned the Big 12 has now officially announced that they will be extending invitations to AAC teams Houston, UCF, and Cincinnati, as well as football-independent/West Coast BYU.
These four teams are expected to join the Big 12 no later than July 1st, 2024, with BYU planning to join for the 2023-2024 season.
The catalyst in this summer realignment talk was the announcement that Oklahoma and Texas would be joining the SEC. The teams, however, have expressed their intentions to stay in the Big 12 until July 1st, 2025.
While the four new additions will certainly not replace the revenue that the Big 12 is losing with Oklahoma and Texas, it is undeniably a step in the right direction to keep the conference together – for now.
When the realignment dust settles by 2025, the Big 12 will be back at its original number of 12 teams. Until then, the conference will have 14 teams if all teams planning to enter and exit follow their expressed timelines.
This realignment news should – at least in the meantime – put a few worries at ease.
It’s likely decreased the panic of current conference members looking for a spot to land before they are left behind. This is not to say that other teams won’t jump ship if another conference decides it does, in fact, want to expand.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby did reiterate the member’s current commitment to the conference.
The more our group became committed to one another and moving forward with the group of eight, the more they began to believe adding additional members made good sense. – Big 12 Commissioner, Bob Bowlsby
So, what does this mean specifically for the Kansas Jayhawks in the future? Right now, not much aside from the fact that they will now have new teams to scout and farther distances to travel during conference play.
Previously, the numerous rumors had KU joining basically any other Power Five conference, with the most likely and best option being the Big Ten as the Jayhawks were in discussions with the conference.
Realignment news tends to move quickly and happen suddenly, so it’s far from a sure thing that all of these plans come to fruition. It seems for now; however, KU has a safe place in the Big 12 until another wave of realignment comes.