Oklahoma & Texas Could Be Changing Leagues
A major change could be coming to the world of college athletics, and the first moves have already been made by the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas.
Both schools have informed the Big 12 Conference that they will not be renewing the media rights grant when the contract expires in 2025.
In a joint statement, the two schools announced, “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.”
While this does not signal an immediate exit from the Big 12 Conference, it does appear that both schools are comfortable exploring other options. Sources have already indicated that the SEC is an attractive option for both schools, and a move could be made quickly.
Sources with the Big 12 have made it clear that this statement from Oklahoma and Texas does not guarantee that they will remain in the league through 2025. Both schools could be willing to pay the exit fee penalty, and they would only have to give the league 18 months’ notice before leaving.
Oklahoma and Teas have not reportedly informed the SEC that they wish to enter that league, but most are expecting that to happen. The SEC would then need to have 11 of the 14 chancellors approve of the move before an official invitation would be sent out.
If this move happened, it would significantly change the college football landscape, and it would have major impacts on other sports as well. The SEC would become the first “super conference,” but more would likely look to follow the lead.
Oklahoma and Texas are two of the flagship programs in the Big 12 Conference and losing either school would be extremely costly. These two schools are bitter rivals when it comes to athletics but are working together to better their future.
Will Big Ten Look to Add?
If Oklahoma and Texas do leave the Big 12 Conference, then it would leave the eight-member schools in a difficult position. The Big 12 could look to add two new teams, but it seems more likely that the conference would disband altogether.
Other Power 5 Conferences will be looking to poach schools from the Big 12 Conference as well, most notably the Big Ten Conference. This would not create a big geographical issue, especially if the league targeted schools such as Kansas and Iowa State.
Kansas would not provide a big boost to the football in the Big Ten Conference, but it is one of the most storied franchises in college basketball. Iowa State is a great football school, and the Cyclones have also had plenty of recent success on the basketball court.
The Big Ten Conference has also already taken Nebraska from the Big 12 Conference, and there would be a desire to add. Other teams in the Big 12 could be attractive options to the Pac-12 Conference or could be forced to join a smaller league if the conference disbands.
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