As expected, Texas and Oklahoma are on their way out of the Big 12 Conference as they seek membership into the Southeastern Conference.
On Monday, a joint statement was released by both schools informing the Big 12 they will not renew the league’s grant of media rights following its expiration in 2025.
The statement read: The University of Oklahoma and The University of Texas at Austin notified the Big 12 Athletic Conference today that they will not be renewing their grants of media rights following expiration in 2025. 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 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 the statement suggests both schools will remain in the Big 12 for nearly the next four years (the grant of rights expires June 30, 2025), Texas and Oklahoma could reach a settlement with the Big 12 to leave earlier.
A statement released Monday afternoon by the Big 12 seemed to indicate it would hold the two schools to the lengths of their original agreements.
“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. “The Big 12 Conference will continue to support our member institutions’ efforts to graduate student-athletes, and compete for Big 12 and NCAA championships. Like many others, we will use the next four years to fully assess what the landscape will look like in 2025 and beyond. The remaining eight institutions will work together in a collaborative manner to thoughtfully and strategically position the Big 12 Conference for continued success, both athletically and academically, long into the future.”
The grant of rights agreement signed by all Big 12 schools grants their media rights in football and men’s basketball to the conference, which has television contracts with ESPN and Fox that expire in 2025.
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) July 26, 2021
The future of the Big 12 is now in limbo, with the remaining eight schools — West Virginia, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech — left to figure out their future.
Those schools could seek membership into another Power 5 Conference, but it remains to be seen if the ACC, Big Ten or Pac-12 opt for expansion.
The Big 12 could also look to keep the eight holdover schools and add others as it tries to stay afloat.
On Sunday, the Big 12’s Executive Committee, consisting of the league’s Board of Directors chairman and Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec and Baylor President Linda Livingstone and Commissioner Bob Bowlsby held a meeting by videoconference with Oklahoma President Joe Harroz and Texas President Jay Hartzell.
“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,” Bowlsby said. “I expect that we will continue our conversations in the days ahead and we look forward to discussing thoughts, ideas and concepts that may be of shared interest and impact.”
But the two schools, who reportedly began exploring a move to the SEC in December 2020, are set to bolt a conference they were original members of when it formed in 1994.