The Big 12 is on the verge of seeing its two flagship schools depart for the SEC.
Oklahoma and Texas are expected to announce intentions to join the SEC and form college sports’ first “superconference” in the near future. But the Big 12 is trying to entice both to stay.
The league announced that its top officials met with OU and UT presidents on Sunday afternoon.
“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,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. “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.”
The Big 12’s executive committee consists of the conference’s board of directors chairman and Texas Tech president Lawrence Schovanec; Baylor president Linda Livingstone; and Bowlsby.
OU’s president is Joe Harroz and UT’s president is Jay Hartzell.
OU and UT did not take part in a league conference call on Thursday to discuss its future.
A CBS Sports report earlier Sunday said that the Big 12 has discussed granting UT and OU additional revenue shares that would bump their payouts to approximately $56 million per year. The other eight schools would decrease their payouts accordingly. Big 12 schools currently average $37 million in annual TV rights earnings, according to CBS’ report.
Both schools are reportedly still planning to formally notify the league on Monday that they don’t intend to extend their media rights deals with the conference, which expire in June 2025. Talks between UT, OU and the SEC have reportedly been ongoing for months.
It’s unclear when Texas and Oklahoma could start competing in the SEC as the Big 12 owns both schools’ first- and second-tier media rights for football and men’s basketball through the 2024-25 school year even if they leave for another conference.
If UT and OU depart to the SEC, it could be a conference-killing blow to the Big 12. Other schools would likely seek refuge in other power conferences such as the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12. The American Athletic Conference is also reportedly looking to poach the leftover schools to boost its conference’s profile.
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