ORLANDO, Fla. — The University of Central Florida is trying to take its athletic program to a new level by lobbying to join the Big 12 Conference.
UCF doesn't want to upset its partners in the American Athletic Conference, but it doesn't want to miss the opportunity to become a member of one of the most prestigious sports conferences in the country.
UCF President Dr. John Hitt told Channel 9 the school's interest is more than just a passing one.
"You have to look at it, if given the opportunity. You would have to give it very thorough and careful consideration," Hitt said.
Hitt said he would make sure the committee knows about their interest in any expansion plans for the Big 12 Conference and that he would lobby for full consideration based on accurate data.
Hitt told Channel 9 that part of the data is being able to expand their current football stadium to 60,000 within two seasons.
"If I know we are being discussed, I would take measures to make sure the people that are discussing (us) will make the decision (based on) full and accurate information on who we are, what we do and how we do it," Hitt said.
The move would also give UCF a boost financially, with an extra $20 million annually, but Hitt said academics are just as important.
"If you place yourself like Texas, that's pretty good company. Oklahoma (and Texas Christian University), where I worked as a young man," Hitt said.
The Big 12 Conference is reportedly in talks with several other schools to gauge interest, including Houston, Colorado State and Memphis.
The conference is made up of 10 schools, including Texas, Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and West Virginia.
Big 12 school presidents and athletic directors will meet May 31.
Hitt said he hopes the University of South Florida could join UCF in the Big 12.
Cox Media Group