The Big 12 Championship Game was a college football game held by the Big 12 Conference each year between 1996 and 2010. The championship game pitted the Big 12 North Division champion against the South Division champion in a game held after the regular season was completed.
The Big 12 South held an overall lead of 11–4 over the Big 12 North in the game. In the first eight Big 12 championship games from 1996 to 2003, the divisions split four games each (with the north champion winning in every odd-numbered year and the south champion winning in every even-numbered year). However, the north division champion did not win after Kansas State's upset victory over Oklahoma in 2003.
The first championship game was played after the 1996 regular season, the first year of play for the Big 12 (which was created from the merger of the Big Eight Conference and four teams from the Southwest Conference). Like the SEC Championship Game (which has been played since 1992), the game matched the winners of the conference's two six-team divisions. The championship game was held at several sites within the Big 12 states, with Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, hosting more often than any other venue.
From 2009 through 2013, the game was scheduled to be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. During June 2010, however, Nebraska and Colorado announced that they would leave the Big 12 for other conferences in 2011. Because NCAA rules require that a conference have twelve members in order to stage a football championship game, the conference did not hold a championship game for the 2011 or 2012 season. Oklahoma and Texas have expressed that a conference title game hurts the chances of the conference to have a representative in the BCS National Championship Game. The two schools had appeared in all but two Championship games, and throughout the championship game's existence, accounted for 10 of the 15 Big 12 Championships won, with Oklahoma and Texas each having 7 and 3 respectively.