The Big 12 has invited the University of Cincinnati to join its ranks, the Associated Press reported Friday.
The invitation was expected to come this week after UC officials submitted the university's application to move up from the AAC. The conference upgrade means higher-profile coverage and higher payouts, as well.
And while the news is monumental for the university, Brendon Cull, chief strategy officer for the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, said the school going onto such a big stage and a Power Five conference "is just huge for this community."
"I mean, it's huge," he said. "I think the news initially for a lot of people comes in the way about sports, but it's about so much more than sports."
UC Athletic Director John Cunningham concurred on the significance of the invite in a letter released to the public.
Cunningham said the goal is to win national championships and give all teams more avenues to do so by joining the Big 12.
"The University of Cincinnati is a huge part of our economy here, and what they do, up and around the campus area, what they contribute to our talent base, and what they contribute to research in this community is huge, and so now you have sports going to the next level, added profile growth for the university," Cull said. "This is all good for Cincinnati. "
Alongside UC's acceptance, Brigham Young University, the University of Central Florida and the University of Houston also received invitations Friday.
The four teams' admissions bring the conference's roster back up to its full capacity of 12 teams.