Cincinnati Athletics: John Cunningham discusses upcoming Big 12 move


“Obviously a big announcement last week with the accelerated timeline to get into the Big 12 in 2023. It’s going to move our program forward and it’s really important,” Bearcats athletics director John Cunningham said in a press conference per Cincinnati Athletics. “Everything that we went through this year, all the things that we were able to accomplish, it made a lot of sense for us to move into the Big 12 in 2023.”

We knew the jump was coming up but now the date is set for next summer as BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will officially join the Big 12 on July 1, 2023. After becoming the first Group of Five program to reach the College Football Playoff, the Bearcats have continued to capitalize on increased attention and exposure, which should only expand in a higher level league. Each school will pay an $18 million buyout to leave early for the Big 12.

Cincinnati Athletics: John Cunningham discusses upcoming Big 12 move

In the recent press conference, Cunningham also talked about the Day One Ready campaign that was created with a goal to raise $100 million to help compete for championships moving forward. During the Big 12 spring meetings in early June, conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced every school earned $42.6 million from the media distribution deal last year. The Bearcats will become a full member with complete television rights in 2025.

“We’ll bring in more than two times what we’re currently making in the American but we know travel wise, there will be some additional expenses,” Cunningham explained per Cincinnati Athletics. “We’re going to have to step up in certain areas so we’re starting to build that out in terms of how we budget. That’s why we keep talking about the Day One campaign we launched and that means we’re going to have to step up our fundraising.”