Oklahoma, Texas make 1st significant overtures toward jumping to Southeastern Conference
The only schools to win college football national championships during the Big 12’s 27-year history notified the conference they would not be renewing an agreement that binds its members through 2025.
In a joint statement, the schools made no mention of the SEC and 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 in the future,” the schools said.
Texas and Oklahoma have been in discussions with the SEC about joining the league, though neither school nor the powerhouse conference has acknowledged that publicly.
The “grant of rights” gives the conference control of the school’s media rights and runs concurrent with the Big 12’s television contracts with ESPN and Fox, which expire in 2025.
“Although our eight members are disappointed with the decisions of these two institutions, we recognize that intercollegiate athletics is experiencing rapid change and will most likely look much different in 2025 than it does currently,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement.
The remaining eight Big 12 schools — Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech and West Virginia — were hoping to persuade the conference’s flagship schools to stay put.
The next step for Oklahoma and Texas would be applying for SEC membership in a conference that has produced 12 national champions in football since 2003 and is positioned to distribute as much as $70 million annually to its members in the coming years.