Texas and Oklahoma have taken the next step towards migrating to the SEC by declaring their intent to leave the Big 12 with a formal statement informing the conference they will not renew their grant of rights agreements once they expire in 2024-25. The shock that came when this news first broke last week hasn't worn off and won't for quite some time.
Two iconic programs who rule the Big 12 are about to swim into the deep end of the pool in the SEC if all goes as planned. On the field, Oklahoma is the No. 1 program in the Big 12. While it has struggled lately in football, Texas is still the richest athletic program in the nation with an endowment that nears $32 billion.
How does that fit in the SEC? Oklahoma might at best be -- what? -- the fourth-best program in the Strength Everywhere Conference. Is Texas fifth, maybe sixth? No matter where you come down on that discussion, the Big 12's two big dogs better be prepared to lose some of their swagger when they head Southeast. They will no longer the loudest most impactful voices in the room. This is going to take humility, a term that's never described either program historically. It's also going to reshuffle college athletics.
Now that the first bomb has dropped, let's take a look at what's next at Texas, Oklahoma, the SEC and the larger national landscape of college athletics.
Chance to change everything
This is more than a money play by the SEC. Sure, Texas and Oklahoma might get a nice bump in revenue by changing conferences. One conservative estimate put their share in the SEC at $64 million per year, up $20 million from what SEC teams are earning now. But unless ESPN is in the business of tearing up monster contracts in the middle of their terms, the existing 14 SEC schools will continue making the same revenue (approximately $44 million) through 2032. ESPN has all the leverage here. It owns have half the rights (with Fox) for Texas and Oklahoma. Why should it pay any more for this move?
Why should they pay even $1 more for this move?