More seismic changes in store for college football as OU, ‘Horns abandon Big XII … College football is bracing for another round of potentially seismic changes after it was revealed today that both Oklahoma and Texas would not be renewing their grants of media rights following the expiration of the Big XII’s current contract in 2025 and would be leaving the conference. It was also revealed that both schools have been in discussions with the SEC for at least six months. Oklahoma and Texas could actually leave the conference before 2025, but they would have to pay a pretty steep penalty that could be as much as $76M per. However, with the added revenue expected in the SEC, its a penalty that both schools likely would be willing to pay sooner rather than later. There are also several other hurdles that the two programs would have to clear to make it to the SEC. Texas, in particular, will face some political opposition in the state from the other Big XII schools that are going to be left in a very vulnerable position in the remnants of the Big XII. And Texas A&M, which joined the SEC several years ago has already voiced its opposition to have a second Texas team in the SEC. However, the Aggies would have to convince three other SEC schools to vote ‘no’ which would seem unlikely given the depth of the conversation between the schools and conference this year.
If the SEC does go to 16 teams, it will put pressure on the other Power-5 conferences including the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 to follow suit. Of course, the first domino out there is Notre Dame which did actually play an ACC schedule last fall because of Covid and has flirted with the more geographically sensible Big Ten in the past, but remains a powerful independent. There is also the question what happens to the remnants of the Big XII. They could certainly be picked off by the other conferences if those were to try and get to 16 teams. At the same time, though, it appears that there enough other quality programs out there including Houston, Cincinnati, BYU, Boise State and Memphis that could be added to bolster the conference’s Power-5 credibility. Again, stay tuned!