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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Lowe's Senior CLASS, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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University of Houston Accepts Invitation to join Big 12 Conference

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POSTED: September 10, 2021 -- 9:51 a.m. CT

As it celebrates its 75th anniversary of intercollegiate competition, the University of Houston has accepted an invitation to the Big 12 Conference and will begin play in the league as soon as the fall of 2023.

On Friday morning, Big 12 presidents voted to expand the league with four schools. In addition to the Cougars, BYU, Cincinnati and UCF accepted invitations to join the league. Those four newcomers will compete against current Big 12 members Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia.

UH President Renu Khator, UH System Board of Regents Chairman Tilman J. Fertitta and Vice President for Athletics Chris Pezman joined with Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Big 12 Board of Directors Chairman and Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec on the historic announcement Friday.

Tilman J. Fertitta, chairman of the board of regents of the University of Houston System, called the meeting to order at 11 a.m.


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"Joining the Big 12 Conference is a historic step in our institutional journey and signifies the tremendous growth and success attained academically and athletically over the last decade," Khator said. "Our expectations for our University remain high, our aspirations continue to be bold, and we embrace this new opportunity to compete at the highest levels in all we do."

"Today is a monumental day in the trajectory of the University of Houston. Over the years there have been many moments and many people responsible for those moments that have paved the way to today's years-in-the-making announcement. As a Cougar myself, it is a privilege and honor to represent the many who have played a role in getting all of us to this special day," Pezman said. "On behalf of the University of Houston, I want to thank Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and the membership of the Big 12 for their belief in us and the value we can add to the Conference. Our collective past performances have led us to the opportunity we have today. We are humbled, honored, excited and ready to get to work. Together, what we can accomplish is limitless."

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