Texas, Oklahoma make first formal move toward leaving Big 12. Now what?
Both Texas and Oklahoma told the Big 12 they will not be renewing their grants of media rights following their expiration in 2025. What will that mean for college football?
Texas and Oklahoma released a joint statement Monday morning that the universities notified the Big 12 they will not be renewing their grants of media rights following their expiration in 2025.
It was an unsurprising move in their expected departure from the league, after reports surfaced last week that the two schools desire to leave the Big 12 for the SEC.
On Sunday evening, the Big 12 announced that the presidents from both Texas and Oklahoma met with the league’s executive committee.
“The meeting was cordial, and the executive committee expressed a willingness to discuss proposals that would strengthen the conference and be mutually beneficial to OU and UT, as well as the other member institutions of the conference,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement.
The notice still came Monday morning from both schools about their intent to leave the Big 12, a conference they have been a part of since 1996.
“Providing notice to the Big 12 at this point is important in advance of the expiration of the conference’s current media rights agreement,” the joint statement said. “The universities intend to honor their existing grant of rights agreements. However, both universities will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving collegiate athletics landscape as they consider how best to position their athletics programs for the future.”
What comes next for Texas and Oklahoma?
Stadium’s Brett McMurphy reported Texas and Oklahoma have been working together for more than six months on a possible conference move.
Revisiting a quote from a source last week: “Oklahoma & Texas have been in lock step from the beginning.” Source said schools contacted SEC in December & had already made up mind they were leaving Big 12— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 26, 2021
For Texas and Oklahoma to be allowed to join the SEC, three-fourths of the schools in the league (11 of 14 in the SEC’s case) must vote in the affirmative for it to happen, according to Sports Illustrated. There is currently no reported timetable when a vote could occur on what has been a rapidly developing story.
What comes next for the Big 12 and the remaining eight schools?
What does this all mean for the other eight members of the current Big 12, among them Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU and West Virginia?
There have been multiple reports — originally sourced back to Mike Vernon — about Kansas and Iowa State reaching out to the Big Ten, and last week The Athletic reported that Big 12 officials discussed the possibility of reaching out to the Pac-12 to discuss merging to create a 20-team “superconference.”
After Texas and Oklahoma’s joint statement Monday morning, though, The Athletic’s Max Olson seemed to pump the brakes on speculation about Big 12 schools joining other Power Five leagues, for now. Olson reported that issues about academic standards of the remaining Big 12 schools could make them less suitable options for the Big Ten or the Pac-12.
Heard today from several people that B1G only would be interested in adding schools from the AAU (Nebraska no longer, but was when it joined league). Texas is AAU member, along with Pac-12 schools like Cal, Washington, Colorado, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Stanford. Oklahoma is not AAU.— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) July 26, 2021
The Houston Chronicle reported the American Athletic Conference — the most competitive Group of Five league — will be aggressive in pursuing adding remaining members of the Big 12.
“The source said it’s unlikely the Big 12 survives the loss of its top two revenue-producing schools, which would set off a scramble for the remaining schools to find a new home once the league’s grant-of-rights agreement ends in 2025,” the Chronicle’s Joseph Duarte wrote.
What if the Big 12 looked to expand?
Names of numerous schools have been discussed by media outlets in recent days as possibilities for the Big 12 to add, if the league chooses to expand. Among them has been independent BYU, the AAC’s Houston, Cincinnati, UCF and USF, as well as the Mountain West’s Boise State, Colorado State and Air Force.
“However, if the Big 12 looks to expand, one source said there are no schools that would bring significant value,” Duarte wrote.
For now, the college football world is in wait-and-see mode.
“One thing seems certain for the remaining eight. They will see a drop in media revenue either in the short-term or forever,” 247 Sports’ Tim Fitzgerald wrote. “Either they preserve the conference as is by sharing millions of dollars each with the two wealthiest schools in the league, or they face a new reality with the two schools that are also the biggest television draw for the conference.”