The latest domino in saga that is making waves throughout college football has fallen.
As expected, both Texas and Oklahoma informed the Big 12 Conference that the schools will not renew their grants-of-rights when the league’s current TV deal expires in 2025. Essentially, the programs have now officially declared their intentions to leave the conference.
“Providing notice to the Big 12 at this point is important in advance of the expiration of the conference’s current media rights agreement,” reads a joint statement from Texas and Oklahoma. “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.”
The expectation is that both institutions will now begin official dialogue with the SEC about joining that conference. The Houston Chronicle reported last week that Texas and Oklahoma desire to join that league, thus strengthening its stance as the top conference in college football.
In their joint statement, which was issued Monday morning, Texas and Oklahoma denoted their intentions to “honor their existing grant of rights agreements,” meaning they would continue to compete in the Big 12 in all sports through the 2024-25 academic year. But according to reports, it’s possible that one or both programs will make an exit before then.
It’s also unclear what will happen to West Virginia and the Big 12’s seven other remaining members. At least one of those programs has communicated with the Big Ten to gauge that league’s interest in expanding. A Big 12 spokesperson stated last week that the eight remaining members “strongly” desired to retain the league’s composition.
Big 12 executives met with university presidents from Texas and Oklahoma Sunday afternoon. Commissioner Bob Bowlsby described the meeting as “cordial.”
“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,” Bowlsby said Sunday.
Instead, both schools have now taken the necessary steps to begin their departure from the conference. How that move will impact the rest of college football remains to be seen.