If this news is familiar to Cougar fans, that’s because rumors swirled five years ago that UH might join the Big 12, but was ultimately spurned.
ESPN reports that Houston and three other schools — Brigham Young, Central Florida, and Cincinnati — are leading candidates for Big 12 expansion.
With the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma, departing, a UH add could be a bold move for the Big 12. If agreed upon, the Big 12 could extend formal invitations to UH during the forthcoming college football season.
A move would be costly for UH; the university would have to pay a $10 million exit fee if it leaves its current American Athletic Conference.
However, a payoff could be hefty. Each Big 12 school reportedly earned up to $40.5 million in revenue in the last fiscal year, ABC13 notes. In comparison, a school in the American Athletic Conference earned on average almost $7 million from TV rights revenue.
Houston, along with Rice University, were rumored to be invited into the Big 12 in 2016. At the time, the two Houston schools would’ve made 12 member institutions; the Big 12 settled for only 10 schools.
UH has yet to issue an official statement on the potential merger.
CultureMap will update this news as it develops.