Cincinnati to Enter Big 12 on July 1, 2023

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CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati will officially enter the Big 12 as a conference member on July 1, 2023.

The Big 12 announced on Sept. 10, 2021 that UC, along with Houston, UCF and BYU, would join the conference, kicking off an exciting fall that saw the Bearcats’ football team become the first Group of Five program to reach the College Football Playoff.

Cincinnati will look to reach even greater heights as a member of the Power 5 conference that has seen its teams win 76 team national championships since its inception in 1994.  

“Today is another milestone in our journey towards participation in the Big 12,” Director of Athletics John Cunningham said. “We welcome this accelerated timeline and are thrilled that a majority of our current student-athletes will be able to prove themselves at the ‘Next Level.’ It’s imperative that our whole athletic department and our entire fanbase embrace this challenge together. As I said before, our goal is to compete for championships on the first day we enter the Big 12. Now that we have that date, it’s time to ensure we position ourselves at the head of the table.”

Since the monumental announcement in September, the Bearcats have more than proven they will be ready to contend. In addition to the historic football season that saw UC advance to the Cotton Bowl and finish among the nation’s top eight for a second straight season, the entire athletic department had tremendous success on and off the field.

Five different student-athletes collected conference player of the year honors, the track and field teams broke 20 school records, tennis won a school-record 11 straight matches and men’s golf finished in the top five of five different tournaments – among many other highlights.

Off the field, five student-athletes collected Academic All-America honors and more than 100 student-athletes graduated during the 2021-22 school year. All 16 programs posted a 3.0 or higher team GPA with the Bearcats’ student-athletes collectively posting a 3.369 GPA for the spring 2022 semester. 

The work is not done, however.

Today marks 385 days for Cincinnati to be “Day One Ready” and supporters are encouraged to give to the “Day One Ready Campaign” and keep UC’S tremendous momentum over the next 12 months. 


The University of Cincinnati Department of Athletics competes at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics with the vision to reach Next Level Success for all 18 varsity teams and more than 500 student-athletes. The Bearcats have a proud athletics history, winning eight national championships and 117 conference titles. The Cincinnati men’s basketball team is among the 15 winningest programs all-time, while the football team became the first American Athletic Conference program to compete in the College Football Playoff in 2021. Olympic gold medalist volleyball player Jordan Thompson, NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson and Major League Baseball legend Sandy Koufax are among the several luminaries who have competed as Bearcats.

UC student-athletes collectively posted a 3.369 overall GPA in the spring of 2021 with 77 percent earning spots on the Honor Roll, while five student-athletes collected CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades.

Under the leadership of Director of Athletics John Cunningham, and supported by more than 150 full-time staff membersUC Athletics’ mission is to connect our community, enhance our University and impact the lives of student-athletes as they prepare to change the world on and off the field.

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