Not So Fast: Why Oklahoma and Texas Leaving the Big 12 Won’t Be Easy

The Big 12 is in crisis after news broke of the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners wanting to leave the conference for the SEC.

It shook not only the Big 12 but also the world of college football. If Texas and Oklahoma leave the conference, where would that leave the other eight teams?

Alternatively, could the conference do enough to get both teams to stay?

Texas and Oklahoma skip Big 12 conference call

If anyone thought that Texas and OU weren’t serious about leaving the Big 12, all they have to do is take a look at the story posted by ESPN’s Heather Dinich and Mark Schlabach.

Neither school reportedly showed up to Thursday night’s Big 12 conference call, and now the conference is in a crisis, scrambling to figure out what to do next.

The conference plans to make both schools follow the bylaws, which were set up in case a member school wanted to leave. Both schools will have to wait about a year and a half before they can depart.

The conference released a brief statement about the current situation: “There is a recognition that institutions may act in their own self-interest, however, there is an expectation that members adhere to Conference bylaws and the enforcement of Grant of Rights agreements.”

It also appears that according to the Big 12 bylaws, both institutions would have to pay a hefty fee if they were to depart.

The Big 12 scrambles to find solutions to keep OU and Texas

A general view of the Big 12 logo on the field at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium prior to a game between the Kansas State Wildcats and West Virginia Mountaineers Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Since both schools appear to be leaving, conference officials are searching for ways to keep them. One solution is to offer them both more money.

The Big 12 only gave out $38 million to its member institutions last year, which was third among all Power 5 conferences.

Since Texas and Oklahoma are the cash cows in the conference, will that be enough? The Big 12 still has an advantage over both schools because it owns their media rights until 2025.

So if both schools decide to take off for the SEC, the Big 12 could still make money off them for years to come. 

The Big 12 is already seeking new members


Why Oklahoma and Texas Want to Join the SEC

If Oklahoma and Texas leave, officials of the Big 12 may already be in the process of looking to replace them. One of the schools they may be looking at is the University of Central Florida.

UCF is in a huge television market (Orlando, Florida), and it is the largest university in the state. That would be a huge get for the Big 12, though UCF still isn’t Texas and Oklahoma.

BYU and Houston may also be considered.  But in all likelihood, the conference may just break up, and schools like the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Kansas Jayhawks may find membership elsewhere.

OSU and KU could probably find a home with the Big Ten, especially since the Jayhawks still have one of the top basketball programs in the country. They’d likely be a welcome addition to the Big Ten. Oklahoma State could strengthen the Big Ten in football, as well.

But until both Texas and Oklahoma make it official, it’s still just speculation on everyone’s part as to what both schools are thinking.