BYU to join Big 12 Conference


Video links to watch the full news conference and transcribed quotes

IRVING, Texas — The Big 12 Conference announced today the addition of Brigham Young University — along with Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston — to its existing member institutions, starting in the 2023-24 athletic season.

“This is a historic day for BYU Athletics – and for the entire university,” said Kevin J Worthen, BYU president. “The BYU mission statement indicates that BYU is a place where ‘a commitment to excellence is expected.’ We strive to meet that requirement in all we do, including our core academic enterprise. Membership in the Big 12 gives us the opportunity to reinforce that commitment for student-athletes, allowing them to compete at the highest level both on and off the field.”

The Cougars will participate in every sport sponsored by the Big 12 except equestrian, rowing and wrestling. The Big 12 sponsors every sport the Cougars compete in, except men’s volleyball. All sports will begin Big 12 schedules in the 2023-24 athletic season, except for men’s volleyball, which will continue to compete in the MPSF.

“We have said all along that the decisions about where we play, who we play and what conference we compete in are about the student-athletes first and how we can help them achieve excellence,” said Tom Holmoe, BYU director of athletics. “Competing on the Big 12 stage provides more opportunities for our student-athletes. That’s what it’s all about.”

BYU is coming off of its best overall athletic season since 2001-02, finishing No. 17 in the 2020-21 Director’s Cup standings. Contributing to that historic season was a national title from women’s cross country, a national runner-up for men’s volleyball, multiple NCAA titles for BYU distance runners, multiple West Coast Conference championships, NCAA basketball tournament appearances and a No. 11 finish in football.

BYU has navigated an unprecedented time in college athletics, excelling through changes associated with a pandemic and NCAA changes, including the new name, image and likeness legislation.

“College athletics is changing,” Holmoe said. “We’ve seen a rapid increase in the rate in which change is happening. We see it with conference realignment, we’ve seen it with the transfer portal, governance, and we’ve certainly seen it with NIL. We’re ready at BYU. Today’s news about joining the Big 12 is huge, but it’s not a resting point for us. This is just a new beginning with opportunities for bigger and better things to keep coming for BYU Athletics.”

The Big 12 will honor BYU’s existing Sunday-play policy, allowing the Cougars to schedule around Sunday competition, much like it has with the West Coast Conference and other conferences previously.

BYU will still compete as a member of the WCC for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons. BYU has been a member of the conference since 2011.

“We are truly grateful to the WCC,” Holmoe said. “Being a member of the WCC for the past 10 years helped us tremendously. All of our teams developed significantly while we’ve been a member of the WCC.”

BYU will be holding a press conference at 10:30 a.m. MDT to discuss today’s news. It is available live at


Founded in 1875, Brigham Young University is located in Provo, Utah. The campus is home to 33,181 undergraduate students, pursuing degrees in 186 majors.  Athletically, the Cougars compete in 21 sports. They have won 12 NCAA titles all-time, claimed 296 conference championships; and have been home to 1,385 All-Americans, 1 Heisman Trophy winner, and 75 Olympians.

Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, swimming & diving, tennis, volleyball. Its women’s sports are basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, softball, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, and volleyball.  The Cougars participate in every sport sponsored by the Big 12 except equestrian, rowing, and wrestling.  The Big 12 sponsors every sport the Cougars compete in except men’s volleyball.


Location: Provo, UT

Founded: 1875

President: Kevin Worthen

Director of Athletics: Tom Holmoe

Enrollment: 36,024 (33,181 Undergraduate)

Colors: Blue and White

Nickname: Cougars



  • 2020 team finished ranked #11 in the nation
  • 23 total conference championships before classifying as independent in 2011
  • 1984 National Champions
  • No. 8 in total wins among FBS program since 1971 (50 years) with 425
  • 1990 Heisman Trophy Winner – Ty Detmer
  • Produced 81 All-Americans (14 consensus)
  • Won 7 Sammy Baugh Trophies, 4 Davey O’Brien Awards, Maxwell Award, Outland Trophy and Doak Walker Award
  • 7 College Football Hall-of-Famers
  • 5 2021 NFL draft picks, including No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson


  • Women’s Cross Country won the 2021 National Championship
  • Men’s and Women’s Track & Field won a number of individual national titles at 2021 NCAAs
  • Men’s Basketball finished the regular season ranked #23, made the 2021 NCAA Tournament
  • Women’s Basketball made 2021 NCAA Tournament, advanced to the second round
  • Tom Holmoe named 2021 National Athletics Director of the Year


  • Mitt Romney – U.S. Senator
  • Kim B. Clark – Former Dean of the Harvard Business School
  • Ken Jennings – Jeopardy! Champion
  • Jane Clayson Johnson — Former co-host of The Early Show on CBS
  • Stephenie Meyer — Author of Twilight series
  • Lindsey Stirling — Emmy Award-nominated violinist
  • Steve Young – Pro Football Hall-of-Fame
  • Ty Detmer – 1990 Heisman Trophy Winner
  • Jim McMahon – Super Bowl Champion Quarterback
  • Johnny Miller – Major Champion Golfer
  • Danny Ainge – NBA Champion
  • Ryan Smith — Utah Jazz Owner


  • 186 undergraduate majors
  • 64 master’s degree programs
  • 26 doctoral degree programs
  • #1 Colleges Worth the Cost (Wall Street Journal)
  • #1 Graduates who go on to earn a Ph.D. in business administration (NSF)
  • #1 Best Trained Business Graduates (Bloomberg Businessweek)
  • 1,622 international students representing over 100 countries