On Monday morning, Oklahoma and Texas officially notified the Big 12 that they will not be renewing their grants of media rights after their expiration in 2025, according to a joint statement released by both schools. The statement said “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 statement said. “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” in a report from ESPN.
Big 12 sources gives the two schools some “wiggle room” and doesn’t fully guarantee that the flagship schools would remain in the league through 2025. The possibility remains that they will pay the $75-80 million penalty for leaving early, while also giving the required 18 months’ notice according to Big 12 bylaws. The statement went on to acknowledge the disappointment the fellow eight Big 12 schools should be having but they also acknowledged the ongoing change coming to college athletics.
The next step would be for the two schools to formally let the SEC know they want to join the conference. Then the SEC would need 11 of its 14 presidents and chancellors to agree to extend an invitation to the two schools. Big 12 officials are wondering if and when that might happen.
SEC ADs were scheduled to participate in their weekly call Monday afternoon. The call had been rescheduled because of the league media days. The Big 12 executive committee met with the presidents of Texas and Oklahoma on Sunday. They are still trying to understand exactly what Oklahoma and Texas are looking for. Oklahoma and Texas officials were not immediately available for comment at the meeting. Despite earlier reports that the SEC would move forward with the current east-west division format, an SEC official said that the “pod” format is looking like the way the league could move forward. If the move were to go through, it is unclear how 2020s conference realignment moves would affect non-football sports.