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Provo powerhouse: Big 12 adds BYU to conference

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Brigham Young quarterback Zach Wilson runs for a touchdown in the first half against Central Florida at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida, on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. (Mark Brown/Getty Images/TNS)

The Big 12 conference has been flipped on its head over the course of the summer. But now, the conference is standing tall again.

The Big 12 has only consisted of ten schools since 2012, and after the sudden news of Oklahoma and Texas leaving the conference, the future for the remaining eight teams was uncertain.

However, the addition of four new schools reinvigorated the spirit, and the namesake, of the Big 12 conference.

BYU may be the most exciting addition to the conference.

“BYU brings a broad national interest,” Lawrence Schovanec, Big 12 board of directors chairman said.

BYU is a national brand, and the Big 12 knew of its appeal.

“BYU is an attractive institution,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. The national appeal of BYU also extends to television and media exposure.

“We have a longstanding contract with ESPN,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said. “If they still believe in that tradition and that relationship, and as we go into and become a member of the Big 12, that will be a discussion that takes place.”

The Big 12 believes the inclusion of the Cougars athletics, as well as the athletic programs of the other three schools joining, will increase the level of competition in the conference.

“We were looking for the best universities, and this was an easy decision for the other eight Big 12 Universities,” Bowlsby said. “BYU is a good example, they have repeatedly finished in the top 25… these are quality football teams.”

Not only does the Big 12 believe they will benefit from BYU’s football team, but also from its many other athletic programs.

“We have attempted to add the very best athletes that we possibly could,” Bowlsby said. “In adding the four members, we will be arguably the best basketball conference in the country.”

BYU is more excited than anyone for the future of the BYU athletics, and for the Big 12’s future with BYU’s inclusion.

“We’re going to join a conference for a reason,” Holmoe said. “To be great partners... and it gives us the best chance to compete at the highest level.”

sporst.ed@ocolly.com