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Big 12 reportedly ‘focused’ on potentially adding BYU, 3 other schools

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BYU tight end Isaac catches a touchdown pass during the Cougars’ win over UCF in the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl.

Brigham Young Cougars tight end Isaac Rex (83) catches touchdown against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. The Athletic reported that the Big 12’s expansion talks are “focused” on BYU and UCF, as well as Cincinnati and Houston.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

On Thursday morning, The Athletic’s Max Olson reported that the Big 12 Conference has “a current preference” of adding four schools as it eyes its future without Texas and Oklahoma.

Olson reported that the four schools the conference has “most seriously discussed and are considered the leading contenders” are BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston.

Olson reported that the Big 12 “continues to engage in serious discussions about future expansion.” Olson had reported last week that BYU was one school that the conference was seriously discussing.

According to Olson, an exact timeline for invitations to the conference is unknown, although he wrote that “If the athletic directors and presidents of the league’s eight remaining members can reach a consensus on which members to invite, sources believe it’s possible that the process could move faster than initially anticipated.”

Olson reported that BYU, an independent in football, could join the Big 12 as a football-only member. As members of the American Athletic Conference, Olson reported that Cincinnati, UCF and Houston would need to give 27 months’ notice before departing to the Big 12, and there would be a $10 million penalty.

According to Olson, one athletic director said the conference is not trying to rush a decision and more “homework” is still needed on candidates and which additions bring the most value.

Eighty percent of the Big 12’s schools would need to approve additions of new members, Olson reported, and that could be achieved if there’s a consensus without Texas and Oklahoma.