New Big 12 commissioner leaves door open for Oklahoma and Texas to leave before 2025
The Sooners and Longhorns are currently scheduled to bolt for the Southeastern Conference in 2025. Could Oklahoma, Texas negotiate leaving the Big 12 early?
Brett Yormark is entering an ever-fluid situation as the incoming commissioner for the Big 12 Conference, and that fact was on full display during the league’s football media days that kicked off Wednesday.
While Yormark fielded several questions revolving around the possibility of Big 12 expansion and its four new institutions, including BYU, that are set to join the league in 2023, he also talked about the conference’s two departing members.
Currently, Oklahoma and Texas are scheduled to leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference in 2025.
Yormark told reporters he’s not against engaging in negotiations to discuss Texas and Oklahoma leaving for the SEC earlier than that, according to the Austin-American Statesman’s Brian Davis.
“But it’s got to be in the best interest of the conference, obviously,” Yormark said.
With a small group of reporters, new Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark said "I'm not against" having negotiations that allow Texas/OU to leave for the SEC early. "But it's got to be in the best interest of the conference, obviously."— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) July 13, 2022
Last month, ESPN executive Jimmy Pitaro told The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch — on Deitsch’s unaffiliated Sports Media Podcast — that Oklahoma and Texas will remain in the Big 12 until 2025.
That’s important from a media rights perspective, because in December 2020, ESPN acquired the SEC television deal currently held by CBS. The 10-year contract between both the SEC and ESPN goes into effect in 2024.
Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger added further analysis on Yormark’s comments about the possibility of Oklahoma and Texas negotiating for an earlier exit out of the Big 12.
“Given the new commissioner, many within the SEC believe in the possibility that Texas and Oklahoma can leave a year early — starting in the SEC in 2024 — but the price will be steep,” Dellenger wrote on Twitter.