Oklahoma and Texas took the first formal step toward moving to the Southeastern Conference, notifying the Big 12 Monday that they would not be renewing an agreement that binds the league’s members through 2025.
The schools sent out a joint statement that made no mention of the SEC and said: “the universities intend to honor their exiting grant of rights agreements.”
The “grant of rights” gives the conference control of the school’s media rights and runs concurrently with the Big 12′s television contracts with ESPN and FOX.
Revenue from the Big 12′s TV deals makes up the bulk of the $34.5 million the league distributed to its members this year.
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Texas and Oklahoma have been in discussions with the SEC about joining the league, though neither school nor the powerhouse conference has acknowledged that publicly.
The joint statement read as follows.
"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."
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The Big 12 and member Texas Christian University both responded to the notification on Monday afternoon. Their respective statements are below.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
“TCU will continue to make decisions in the best interests of our student-athletes, our community, and the long-term vitality of our athletic programs. Athletics are a part of TCU’s national reputation and build upon our core strengths of academic achievement, scholarly pursuit, and an unparalleled student experience. We have nothing to announce at this time but have been engaged in deliberations with our conference colleagues and others and continue to support the Big 12 and its members.”
NBC 5 spoke with fans about the announcement.
"Awful. awful," Texas A&M University alumnus Jon Seaberg said. "I understand why they're doing it. I don't necessarily agree with it."
"I think it's going to add a lot more competition and I think the games are going to be a lot tighter. Let's just hope UT gets a lot better," Texas fan Corby Robbins said.
NBC 5's Meredith Yeomans contributed to this report.