Texas and Oklahoma have reached an agreement in principle to leave the Big 12 after the 2023-24 athletic year, the league announced Thursday, allowing the schools to join the Southeastern Conference one full season ahead of schedule.
The agreement is subject to final approval by the UT and OU governing boards, a formality that will pave the way for the two flagship schools to join the SEC on July 1, 2024.
As part of the agreement, UT and OU will owe combined $100 million in “foregone distributable revenues” which the two schools “will be able to partially offset with future revenues,” according to the Big 12.
“The conference would only agree to an early withdrawalif it was in our best interest for Oklahoma and Texas to depart prior to June 30, 2025,” Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark said. “By reaching this agreement, we are now able to accelerate our new beginning as a 12-team league and move forward in earnest with our initiatives and future planning.”
Yormark, who has been on the job seven months, added that he looks forward to “bright days ahead for the Big 12 Conference.”
The Big 12 is set to add four new schools — the University of Houston, UCF, Cincinnati and BYU — on July 1. With an exit date set, the Big 12 could look at future expansion; there’s reportedly interest in adding Gonzaga in men’s basketball, along with talks regarding four Pac-12 schools: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.
Texas, Oklahoma, the Big 12 and its two media partners reportedly hit a snag in their ongoing negotiations as the parties quarreled over how Fox would offset the expected financial hit it would take from losing as many as eight football games featuring the Longhorns and Sooners, two perennial ratings juggernauts.
In the end, the parties were able to iron out an exit agreement for that would distribute money to the Big 12’s remaining programs and keep Fox and ESPN executives (and their advertising partners) satisfied.
See here for the previous and now totally wrong entry. ESPN, which had reported the likelihood of UT and OU sticking around in the Big XII until the end of the current TV deal in 2025, adds this bit of context:
On July 1, the Big 12 will officially add BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston and it will compete as a 14-team league for the upcoming season. Sources told ESPN recently that both parties were interested in finding a way for the schools to leave early, but when the athletic directors and presidents met last week in Dallas, there was no resolution. It was a quick change that even surprised some leadership within the league on Thursday afternoon.
Surprise, indeed. In the end, the solution was the same as the obstacle, which is to say money. The current Big XII schools that are not leaving will all reap a nice bounty out of this, and as we see there may be more shuffling about to happen with the PAC 12 in shaky condition as USC and UCLA prepare to depart. Never a dull moment, that’s for sure. CBS Sports has more.