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Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 is in its 23rd year in 2018-19 as it continues to promote the strength and success of one of the nation’s premier athletic conferences under the direction of seventh-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 60 NCAA team titles and 654 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 four seasons with Dallas serving as the host site for three events and one staged in Atlanta.

Big 12 Champions for Life, an initiative of the Big 12 Conference, will begin its fourth year in 2018-19. It features student-athletes, selected by Conference 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 in 2017-18 that placed a team in the College Football Playoff (Oklahoma), Men's Final Four (Kansas), Men’s College World Series (Texas and Texas Tech) and Women’s College World Series (Oklahoma). National championships were won by Texas men’s swimming & diving and Oklahoma State men’s golf. UT’s title was its fourth-consecutive while the Big 12 picked up its second straight men’s golf crown with Oklahoma winning it in 2017. Of the eight teams that advanced to match play in the men’s golf championship, half of the field represented the Big 12.  

For the first time in Conference history, the Big 12 sent 90% of its men’s basketball teams to postseason play with seven in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and two in the National Invitation Tournament.  The Big 12 is the first league since at least 1996-97 to accomplish this feat. The Conference’s 70% participation in the NCAA Championship was the highest of all leagues.

The Big 12 led the nation in the fall of 2017 with 80% of its teams selected to bowl games highlighted by No. 2 Oklahoma competing in the CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl. The Big 12 had at least 80% of teams bowl eligible for the third time in Conference history (90% in 2010 and 80% in 2011). It marked just the 14th occasion since 1996 that an FBS league had at least 80% of teams with 6-plus wins. The Big 12 has made six appearances in a CFP News Year’s Bowl in the four years of the structure.

Additionally, the Big 12 added its sixth Heisman Trophy winner since 1996 with Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) taking home the 2017 award. The Conference has had a finalist in 14 of its seasons for a total of 19 with two finalists in five seasons. Thirty-eight 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. Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma) was presented the NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award in January 2015. 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 11 honorees for this prestigious award. In the last seven seasons, 14 student-athletes were recipients of the NCAA Elite 90 Award with Oklahoma State’s Noah Gade (cross country), Oklahoma’s Lily Miyazaki (women’s tennis) and Baylor’s Colin Kober (men’s golf) 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 650 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.  Thirteen times in the past 14 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. 

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 421 scholars have received over $3.1 million in postgraduate financial aid through the first 22 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.

BIG 12 QUICK FACTS
(All statistics from Fall 1996 through June 2017)

Founded: February 25, 1994
Area: Five states with combined populations of more than 38 million people.
Television Markets: 15 of the Top 100 nationally
Commissioner's Honor Roll Students: 86,000+ named in 40 semesters
Academic All-Big 12 Team Members: 26,018
Student-Athletes with a 4.0 grade-point average on
Academic All-Big 12 Teams:
1,341
Dr. Prentice Gautt Scholarships: 401 with $2.9 million in financial aid
Team National Championships: 58
Individual National Championships: 645
All-America First Team Selections: 4,815
Academic All-America Selections: 627
Big 12 Postseason Championship Attendance: Nearly 6.0 million

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