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Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 is nearing its silver anniversary as it begins its 24th year in 2019-20 as one of the nation’s premier athletic conferences under the direction of eighth-year commissioner Bob Bowlsby.

TCU and West Virginia joined the league on July 1, 2012 and became the Big 12’s first additions since inception, joining Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech.

With 10 members, the Big 12 remains as the only autonomy conference to determine its champions in all sports directly on the field of play with a full round-robin schedule. The Conference’s hard work ethic and strong values have translated to enormous success in its first 22 years. Since it began competition in 1996-97, the league can boast of 63 NCAA team titles and 664 individual national championships.

The Big 12 has been at the forefront in college athletics reform, specifically with student-athlete welfare issues to include cost of attendance, student-athlete time demands and strengthening its policy for concussion diagnosis and management. In 2014-15, the Big 12 introduced and hosted three “State of Collegiate Athletics” forums to examine the issues facing college athletics. Two were conducted in Washington, D.C and one in New York City. Panelists included respected authorities from intercollegiate athletics, university leadership and sports journalism. The third forum featured a special session comprised of student-athletes. The Big 12 has continued the “State of Collegiate Athletics” forums the past five seasons with Dallas serving as the host site for three events and one staged in Atlanta.

The award-winning Big 12 Champions for Life, an initiative of the Conference, begins its fifth year in 2019-20. It features student-athletes, selected by league institutions, in a series of public service announcements highlighting the positive impact an athletics scholarship has had on their lives leading to stories of personal growth and success.

The Big 12 was the only conference to place a team in the Final Four and CFP semifinals in both 2017-18 and 2018-19. Texas Tech played in the 2019 national championship game while Kansas competed in the 2018 Final Four. Oklahoma was in the CFP semifinals in both seasons. Additionally, the Big 12 was the lone conference that had teams play in the 2019 men’s (Texas Tech) and women’s (Baylor) Final Fours, and the NIT (Texas, TCU) and WNIT (TCU) semifinals. Baylor won the women’s basketball national title while Texas was the NIT champion. The Big 12 also claimed both of the Associated Press basketball coaches of the year as Kim Mulkey (Baylor) captured the women’s award while Chris Beard (Texas Tech) picked up the men’s honor.

In addition to Baylor’s women’s basketball crown, national championships were won by Texas Tech men’s outdoor track & field, Texas men’s tennis and Oklahoma women’s gymnastics while Iowa State claimed the National Invitation Volleyball Tournament. NCAA runner-up finishes besides Texas Tech men’s basketball included UT men’s swimming & diving and men’s golf along with OU softball.

The Big 12 placed 70% of its teams in 2018 bowl games highlighted by No. 2 Oklahoma competing in the CFP Semifinal at the Orange Bowl and a Texas win over No. 5 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. The Big 12 has made eight appearances in a CFP News Year’s Bowl in the five years of the structure, including OU and UT in 2018. The Sooners made their second-straight CFP semifinal appearance and third in four years.  

Additionally, the Big 12 added its seventh Heisman Trophy winner since 1996 when Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) took home the award, following former Sooner QB Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) in 2017. The Conference has had a finalist in 15 of its seasons for a total of 20 with two finalists in five seasons. Thirty-nine major individual awards have been won by Big 12 student-athletes in football over the past nine campaigns. Overall, more than 4,800 student-athletes have earned All-America recognition.

The Big 12 and its member institutions are committed to a competitive environment where sportsmanship and fair play take center stage.  Whether on the field, in the classroom, or within the community, the student-athletes, administrators, coaches and game officials of the Big 12 support the highest ideals in sportsmanship.

National academic accolades have always been strong in the Big 12. Ty Darlington (Oklahoma) was the recipient of the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy, known as the Academic Heisman. Jevon Carter (West Virginia) was presented the NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award in January 2019. It recognizes former student-athletes for their successes on the fields and courts, in the classroom and in the community. Since 1996, the Big 12 has a total of 12 honorees for this prestigious award. In the last eight seasons, 19 student-athletes were recipients of the NCAA Elite 90 Award with Baylor’s Lauren Cox (women’s basketball) and Colin Kober (men’s golf), Oklahoma State’s Sofia Blanco (women’s tennis), Texas’ Johnny Goodwin (men’s tennis) and Texas Tech’s Davide Moretti (men’s basketball), picking up the most recent honors in 2017-18. The accolade showcases individuals who have reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level, while also achieving the highest academic standard among their peers. 

In its short history, the Big 12 has over 680 Academic All-America recipients, averaging about 30 each season.  Big 12 student-athletes have shown commitment to their studies by earning numerous individual academic recognitions.  Fourteen times in the past 15 years a league athlete has garnered the top academic honor for their respective sport, including Jevon Carter (West Virginia) for men’s basketball in 2017-18 and Bianca St. Georges (West Virginia) for soccer in 2018-19. 

Competitive excellence, scholarship and sportsmanship are all equal components of the Big 12 philosophy.  All-Big 12 teams and Academic All-Big 12 squads are recognized for each sport at the end of their respective seasons.  At the end of each academic year, the Conference honors its top male and female student-athletes with the Big 12 Athlete of the Year and Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year awards.

Institutions can also nominate student-athletes for the prestigious Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarships. A total of 441 scholars have received over $3.3 million in postgraduate financial aid through the first 23 years of the program.

The Big 12 sponsors 23 sports. Men’s squads include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, swimming & diving, tennis and wrestling.  Women’s teams are fielded in basketball, cross country, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis and volleyball.

Big 12 institutions create a league that encompasses five states and nearly 38 million people.  Nearly 5,000 student-athletes from across the United States and around the World compete annually in the sports sponsored by the Conference.

The Conference currently conducts postseason championships for 21 of its 23 sports with the Football Championship Game returning in 2017 after a six-year absence. Each championship helps to determine teams and/or individuals that will represent the Conference in national postseason competition.

The Conference office is headquartered in Irving, Texas.

(All statistics from Fall 1996 through June 2019)

Founded: February 25, 1994
Area: Five states with combined populations of more than 38 million people.
Television Markets: 15 of the Top 100 nationally
Big 12 Sirius XM Radio: Channel 375
Academic All-Big 12 Team Members: over 30,000
Dr. Prentice Gautt Scholarships: 421 with $3.1 million in financial aid
Team National Championships: 63
Individual National Championships: 664
All-America First Team Selections: 5,198
Academic All-America Selections: 676
Academic All-America Sport Winners: 23 (3 national winners)
Big 12 Postseason Championship Attendance: over 6.3 million

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