The Big Twelve Conference, Inc. is among the largest athletic conferences in the U.S. and a member of the NCAA. Although the conference is called the Big 12, it is actually composed of 10 members. It was formed with a membership of 12 in 1994 following the merger of the Big Eight and Southwest Conference, which were among the oldest conferences. Two charter members left in 2011 and two others left in 2012. However, West Virginia and Texas Christian universities joined the conference on July 1, 2012, bringing the membership to 10.
The conference considered seven cities for its headquarters before settling for Irving, Texas. It started engaging in competitions on August 31, 1995 and has made major achievements over the years. Its league encompasses five states and almost 37 million people, many of those like a little bet on their home team at sites like allpro. Over 4,200 student-athletes from the U.S. and other parts of the world compete in the sports it sponsors every year.
Members of the Big 12
- Baylor University
- Iowa State University
- University of Kansas
- Kansas State University
- University of Oklahoma
- Oklahoma State University
- Texas Tech University
- University of Texas at Austin
- Texas Christian University
- West Virginia University
On the date of the addition of the two institutions, the members agreed among themselves and with the conference to retain their membership for 99 years.
All members of the Big 12 must:
- be institutions of higher learning holding Division I membership in the NCAA
- meet qualifications set forth in the conference’s Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation
- support the conference’s mission
The Big 12 Mission
- Advance the highest standards of sportsmanship, scholarship and equity
- Support the development of intercollegiate athletic programs meeting national-championship caliber
- Oganize, administer and promote intercollegiate athletics among conference members
- Encourage collaborations in different areas that promote the missions of the institutions and build good-will among them
- Provide supporting services and optimize revenues for competitive and academic excellence
The Big 12 has distributed over $1.8 billion to the member institutions since its inception. The conference made a media rights deal with Fox in 2011 that would ensure all its football games were televised for 13 years. The right also increased coverage of conference championships, including women’s basketball and low-revenue sports. The deal is valued at about $1.1 billion. It made another ESPN/FOX agreement in 2012 worth $2.6 billion. Both deals led to annual per-team payout of about $20 million in addition to other benefits.
The conference sponsors championship competition in 10 men’s and 13 women’s sports sanctioned by the NCAA. It also conducts post-season championships for 20 of the sports, which are used to determine the individuals and teams to represent it in the national post-season competition. The conference has won 537 individual national championships and 52 NCAA titles since it started competition.
When each academic year ends, the Big 12 Conference honors the top female and male student athletes with its sportsperson of the Year and Athlete of the Year awards. Member institutions can also nominate their student-athletes for Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarships. About $2.2 million has been distributed to 313 scholars as postgraduate financial aid over the past 17 years.
About The Author: Leslie writes for sports websites and loves watching and playing basketball.