It’s official: Houston, Cincinnati, and UCF have announced they will all leave the AAC early, departing for the Big 12 for the 2023-24 season.
BYU will also join the Big 12 in 2023, as it announced previously.
In order to exit the AAC, the three schools will all pay exit fees of about $18 million, The Athletic reported. That’s an extra $8 million per school for leaving before the conference’s agreement, which required 27 months notice of a conference leaving. The schools made their announcement last fall.
As of now, that means the Big 12 will have at least one season — if not two — with its newly minted teams as well as its two defectors, Oklahoma and Texas.
The Sooners and Longhorns announced last summer that they were leaving for the SEC — the move that set off the most recent slate of conference realignment — but their agreement with the Big 12 doesn’t end until 2025.
The AAC is far from depleted. To replace Houston, Cincinnati, and UCF, it will add six Conference USA schools.
The Athletic also reported that the departure agreements with Conference USA are almost official.