The University of Cincinnati has officially told the Big 12 it is interested in joining the conference.
The Cincinnati Enquirer obtained a letter on Monday that was sent by interim university president Beverly Davenport to Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby on July 25.
"I am reaching out to you on behalf of the University of Cincinnati to express our interest and excitement in moving forward to explore our candidacy for the Big 12 Conference," Davenport wrote in the three-paragraph letter.
The Bearcats have been in the conversation as a prime candidate to move to the Big 12 for more than a year.
The Big 12 plans to interview as many as 17 schools about possible expansion into the league. The schools that are expected to make presentations to the Big 12 include Cincinnati, Houston, BYU, South Florida, Central Florida, Connecticut, Memphis, Colorado State, Boise State, Tulane, Temple, East Carolina, SMU, New Mexico and Northern Illinois, according to ESPN sources.
The Big 12 has been a 10-member league since Nebraska left for the Big Ten and Colorado left for the Pac-12 in 2011. Missouri and Texas A&M left for the SEC in 2012 but those schools were replaced in the Big 12 by TCU and West Virginia.