Big 12 Conference

Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 Conference is one of the Power Five conferences, along with the ACC, Big Ten Conference, Pac-12 Conference, and the Southeastern Conference. The Big 12 Conference has headquarters in Irving, Texas. Bob Bowlsby has been the commissioner of the Big 12 since 2012.

History of The Big 12

The Big 12 was formed in February 1994. The original members included four Texas universities from the Southwest Conference, plus the eight schools which previously made up the Big Eight Conference. Below is a list of the original members of the Big 12.

Big Eight Schools

  • University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Iowa State University
  • University of Kansas
  • Kansas State University
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • University of Oklahoma
  • Oklahoma State University–Stillwater

Texas Schools from the Southwest Conference

  • Baylor University
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Tech University

Steve Hatchell, who was previously the commissioner of the Southwest Conference, was the first-ever Big 12 commissioner. Brad Clements and Bo Carter also moved from the Southwest Conference to the Big 12 in executive roles, helping Steve Hatchell. In 1995, Dallas was chosen as the location for the Big 12 headquarters. However, in 2006, the headquarters were relocated to Irving.

What schools are in the Big 12?

When the Big 12 switched from 12 teams to 10 in 2011, the Big 12 removed divisions. Instead, all ten teams are grouped together and play an equal amount of games against each school. In football, teams play each opponent once during the regular season. In basketball, schools play each opponent twice during the regular season. Other sports’ schedules vary, as not all schools participate in all sports.

The Big 12 currently has ten full member programs, plus 12 affiliate members. Affiliate members are schools that partake in one sport with the Big 12 conference, but not any others. The current affiliate schools include:

  • United States Air Force Academy (Wrestling)
  • University of Alabama (Women’s rowing)
  • University of Denver (Women’s Gymnastics)
  • California State University, Fresno (Equestrian)
  • University of Missouri (Wrestling)
  • University of Northern Colorado (Wrestling)
  • University of Northern Iowa (Wrestling)
  • North Dakota State University (Wrestling)
  • South Dakota State University (Wrestling)
  • University of Tennessee (Women’s Rowing)
  • Utah Valley University (Wrestling)
  • University of Wyoming (Wrestling)

List of Big 12 Full-Member Teams

  • Baylor University (Baylor Bears)
  • Iowa State University (Iowa State Cyclones)
  • University of Kansas (Kansas Jayhawks)
  • Kansas State (Kansas State Wildcats)
  • Oklahoma University (Oklahoma Sooners)
  • Oklahoma State University (Oklahoma State Cowboys/Cowgirls)
  • Texas Christian University (TCU Horned Frogs)
  • University of Texas at Austin (Texas Longhorns)
  • Texas Tech University (Texas Tech Red Raiders)
  • West Virginia University (West Virginia Mountaineers)


What is the Big 12?

The Big 12 is an NCAA conference that governs collegiate sporting activities for its member institutions. The conference is based out of Irving, Texas, with ten schools located throughout Texas, West Virginia, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Iowa. The Big 12 is a power five conference, making it one of the top five college football conferences in the country. As one of the top NCAA conferences, the Big 12 has many powerhouses in the world of college sports. Most notably, Baylor University recently won the National Championship for basketball in 2021. 

How many teams are in the Big 12?

Ironically, the Big 12 currently has only ten teams in it. Originally the Big 12 had 12 teams, as the name suggests. However, schools often shuffle in and out of NCAA conferences, making it difficult for any conference to have a consistent number of schools.

Two colleges, Oklahoma and Texas, are set to leave the conference in June of 2025. Four schools are set to join the Big 12 over the next few years: Brigham Young University (BYU), University of Cincinnati, University of Houston, and University of Central Florida (UCF). BYU is set to join the Big 12 in either 2022 or 2023. The other three schools will join the conference in either 2023 or 2024.

What sports do Big 12 teams participate in?

Big 12 teams participate in many different sports, depending on the school. There are eight men’s sponsored sports in the Big 12: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), and wrestling. Notably, none of the ten schools participate in all ten sports listed. However, there are a few sports that each of the ten schools all participate in: basketball, football, and golf. The least represented sport is swimming & diving, which only has three Big 12 schools.