The Big 12 Conference will commemorate its 25th anniversary during the 2020-21 athletic year by recognizing the memorable student-athletes, coaches and teams since inception. Highlights include national championships, award winners, academic honors, hall of famers and unforgettable performances.
A social media campaign featuring these accomplishments will launch on July 20 across the Conference’s social media platforms to coincide with the start of Big 12 Virtual Football Media Days presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors. The campaign will continue through June 15, 2021. As part of the 25th anniversary recognition, each institution created commemorative videos with versions for football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and Olympic sports. The videos will be featured on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ throughout the season. Additionally, a commemorative logo was created for use during the anniversary year.
“While our nation is certainly in the midst of trying times, we still want to acknowledge this significant Conference milestone,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “There have been many iconic individuals, teams and moments that have shaped our 25-year history and we look forward to reminiscing throughout the upcoming year.”
The Big 12 Conference was founded on February 25, 1994, and began official competition with the 1996-97 academic year. The original structure consisted of 12 universities with eight of those as current members in Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech. On July 2, 2012, the Big 12 welcomed TCU and West Virginia for its current 10-institution membership.
In its short history, the Big 12 has been at the forefront in college athletics reform, specifically with student-athlete welfare. Competitive excellence, scholarship and sportsmanship are all equal components of the Big 12 philosophy. The award-winning “Big 12 Champions for Life” campaign highlights the positive impact an athletics scholarship has had on the lives of student-athletes leading to stories of personal growth and success.
Since it began competition in 1996-97, the Big 12 has collected 63 NCAA team titles and 689 individual national championships. The Conference has had 720 student-athletes rewarded as Academic All-Americans and 34,960 recognized on Academic All-Big 12 teams.
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 Sportsperson of the Year awards. Among its academic initiatives is the prestigious Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarships. A total of 461 scholars have received over $3.5 million in postgraduate financial aid through the first 24 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.