What a Power 5 Conference means for UConn

UConn, one of several programs being mentioned as a candidate for expansion by the Big 12, is dealing with something new in head coach Diaco’s third season as its head football coach, expectations. (John Raoux/AP)

The University of Connecticut has displayed its high hopes to become a part of the Power Five conferences of college football which include the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten Conference, Big 12 Conference, Pac-12 Conference and Southeastern Conference. This became evident when UConn President Susan Herbst wrote a letter in July to Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby expressing UConn’s interest in joining the Big 12 Conference.

The benefits of being in the Big 12 Conference are unquestionable. The Power Five conferences all have lucrative media and television deals. In fact, the Big 12 announced that all ten of its members drew $30.4 million from last year. New members would not begin by receiving that much revenue; rather, they would start at a percentage of it. However, there will still be an evident increase from the current football revenue. The American Athletic Conference, which UConn is a member of, only derived $18 million last year for the entire conference. The Power Five teams also play in a College Football Playoff that brings in a large amount of revenue to the top-end conference.

As a member of the Power Five conferences, UConn would also get much more exposure for the university. Despite its great basketball teams, football often receives more attention. More exposure is not simply better for UConn athletics fans, but it could increase the number of applications for the university, leading to a more diverse and intelligent student body.

UConn is not the only one vying for membership after the Big 12 announced its plans for expansion. A Sports Illustrated article places UConn on a list of the top eight choices, when the conference had been considering as many as 17 candidates.  

The University of Connecticut also has a lot to offer the Big 12 Conference. As a great athletic university in close proximity to New York City, UConn can deliver television viewers from the New York market. This has happened successfully in regards to women’s basketball on SportsNet New York. Connecticut is also the most populous state without a Power Five team. This also promises more attention to the conference and its games from proud Connecticut supporters.

This is an exciting time for the university, as the Big 12 is in the vetting process. The decision, according to Iowa State President Steven Leath, could come anytime between now and Christmas. Hopefully news of UConn’s upcoming Big 12 membership will be an early holiday present for the university.


Alyssa Luis is a staff columnist for The Daily Campus opinion section. She can be reached via email at alyssa.luis@uconn.edu.