Reports indicate that BYU is Big 12 bound, with an invitation expected to be handed out Friday to BYU, along with three American Athletic Conference members — Cincinnati, Houston and UCF.
If that happens, it’s likely to mean the eventual end of a partnership between the Provo school and the West Coast Conference, which has served as the conference home for the majority of the Cougars’ athletic programs over the past decade.
Since news began to surface that BYU was headed to the Big 12, there has been uncertainty surrounding how much money the school would have to pay to the WCC as an exit fee, which is common when schools leave college conferences.
The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach reported Thursday the exit fees BYU will face if it leaves the WCC.
Clarity on the BYU-WCC exit fee situation per source:— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) September 9, 2021
BYU would need to give WCC notice 24 months before the fiscal year in which withdrawal is effective to avoid payment.
If notice is between 12-24 months, they pay $500k.
If notice is less than 12 months, they pay $1 million.
The exact amount of the exit fee is reportedly determined by three time frames, per Auerbach:
- If BYU gives the WCC notice 24 months’ notice before the fiscal year in which the withdrawal becomes effective, BYU would not pay an exit fee.
- If the notice comes between 12-24 months, BYU would pay $500,000.
- If the notice comes under 12 months, BYU would pay $1 million.
By comparison, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF are required to give a 27-month notice to the AAC and pay a $10 million exit fee to join another league, per ESPN, though in 2019 UConn negotiated to leave the AAC earlier but paid a larger exit fee of $17 million.
Texas and Oklahoma, who forced the Big 12 to explore expansion after accepting invitations from the Southeastern Conference this summer, could pay significantly larger exit fees. The Big 12 holds media rights for both schools through 2025, and Texas and Oklahoma could buy out early with an exit fee of roughly $75 million each, per NFL.com.
There have been several national reports that the most likely scenario is that BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF would join the Big 12 in 2023, while the idea that BYU, which currently plays as an independent in football, could join the Big 12 in 2022 has also been floated.
BYU joined the WCC in the 2011-12 academic season.