Urban Meyer says Cincinnati 'should be in the Big 12'

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Cincinnati landed a major endorsement for its candidacy for the Big 12, even if that program joining a Power 5 league creates some new headaches for Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.

Meyer, a graduate of Cincinnati, admitted that recruiting might become more challenging if the Bearcats are tabbed by the Big 12 as that league looks to expand, giving the Buckeyes some instate competition for Ohio’s wealth of talent. But that won’t keep him from wanting the best for his alma mater, and on Sunday at Ohio State’s media day he offered his public support for Cincinnati’s bid.

“That's great,” Meyer said when the Bearcats were mentioned as a possible expansion target. “I am a graduate, a fan. I think they should be in the Big-12.

“I'm saying that without making all the research necessary to really make that comment. That's more of as a fan ... and my sister is a [vice] provost there, so I know that school very well. I couldn't be happier for that city and for that school if they do get in the Big 12.”

There is obviously plenty of competition for a spot in that league since the Big 12 began making preparations for expansion, but Cincinnati has long been considered a potentially desirable candidate. Cincinnati is currently one of 18 athletic programs under consideration by the Big 12 that will give video presentations to the league, with the conference likely to select two of them if it chooses to expand, according to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.

The Bearcats have fielded strong teams in both football and basketball, are located in a sizable television market and have some geographic proximity to pair with West Virginia. They might also open up some pathways to recruit in a state loaded with top-notch prospects, though a one-time Cincinnati defensive back and 1986 graduate who might face a new challenge with the Buckeyes clearly didn’t seem to mind that possibility.

“Oh, sure. I bet it would [impact recruiting],” Meyer said. “That Big 12 is big business.”