Yahoo Sports Senior College Football Reporter Pete Thamel explains Texas and Oklahoma’s plans to exit the Big 12 and join the SEC in the coming days. The move will have ripple effects felt throughout the college athletics landscape, and the conference TV deals will be something to watch going forward.
PETE THAMEL: The unwinding of the Big 12 as we know it continues. This is Pete Thamel, college football writer for Yahoo Sports. As we reported on Yahoo on Friday morning, the expectation remains that Oklahoma and Texas will approach the Big 12 as early as Monday to inform them essentially of their intention to leave the league. Texas and Oklahoma are bound by a grant of rights through the league for the next four football seasons, and there will certainly be legal wrangling that will happen.
The SEC, as we've reported all week, is expected to gladly accept Oklahoma and Texas. They simply need to wait for Oklahoma and Texas to approach them after they approach the Big 12. All of that should be wrapped up by the end of next week, sources have told Yahoo. With it, the two founding members of the Big 12 are essentially starting to create college sports first [? supercontinents. ?]
The SEC would grow to 16 teams. It would stretch through the entire state of Texas, bringing in the lucrative Boston market, and it would bring in Oklahoma, which has exponentially better college football history than its neighbors down South in Texas, even without the market share. The ripples that will come from college athletics in this are nearly infinite.
The move, which will raise the SEC's per year payout by more than 120 million, starting with the SEC's new ESPN deal in 2023 will also take away a lot of the oxygen for other leagues who are about to come up. The Big 12 essentially gets decapitated with its two marquee schools gone. They're soon going into a new contract negotiation. The Pac 12 is also going to one in 2024, and the Big Ten is coming up before the Pac 12. With so much money, so much attention, so many television windows going to the SEC, and also, a giant chunk of cash expected to be going towards a college football playoff, the other leagues, including the ACC, which has a contract through 2036, are going to be left scrambling.
Will competition arise? Maybe from NBC. Will Turner come in and make a play? Will CBS try to get back in the game after it loses the SEC deal in a few years? We shall see, but ESPN has very clearly stated its intentions with this move and a potential playoff move the fall of where a lot of its money and energy will be going in the future.
So for now, the unwinding of the Big 12 continues and is essentially a formality. The expectation is strong, both in the Big 12 and the SEC. The Oklahoma and Texas will end up leaving. The question really is, what happens next to the rest of. college athletics?