AAC deal lets Houston, UCF, Cincinnati join Big 12 in 2023

This upcoming season will be the final one in the American for the Cougars.

TDECU Stadium to be the future site of XFL football games. Taken January 16, 2020.
Lucio Vasquez/Houston Public Media
The American Athletic Conference announced an agreement Friday with Cincinnati, Houston and UCF that paves the way for the schools to join the Big 12 in 2023.

The three schools announced in September they had accepted invitations to join the Big 12, which moved quickly to a rebuild its membership after Texas and Oklahoma revealed they planned to join the Southeastern Conference in 2025.

Along with the addition of BYU in 2023, the Big 12 is set to be a 14-team conference for two years.

The American requires its members give more than two years’ notice before they can leave the conference, plus a $10 million exit fee. The AAC said its remaining members agreed to terminate the memberships of Cincinnati, Houston and UCF, effective July 1, 2023. Terms were not disclosed.

American Commissioner Mike Aresco thanked the leadership of the departing schools for arriving at a "sensible resolution."

All three institutions enjoyed tremendous success under the American Athletic Conference banner, and all three were instrumental in taking the conference “to great heights, both athletically and academically,” Aresco said. “We wish them the best and look forward to having them compete in our conference in 2022-23."

The new-look AAC is also preparing to have 14 teams in 2023, with six schools from Conference USA having already accepted invitations. Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA were all targeting 2023 to make the switch from C-USA to the American.