Inside Texas, Oklahoma’s Big 12 exit: What it means for colleges, conferences, extra

Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte and Oklahoma counterpart Joe Castiglione have recognized one another for over twenty years, leaning on one another for every little thing from profession recommendation to restaurant suggestions.

Despite a bitter rivalry between the traces or on the courtroom, the 2 extremely revered directors have turn out to be even higher acquainted with one another within the 18 months since serving to engineer their colleges’ stunning transfer from the Big 12 to the SEC. After making the departure official in the summertime of 2021, the pair have typically been noticed collectively at trade occasions, chopping it up in a nook by themselves after being dismissed from league conferences by their (soon-to-be former) colleagues.

On Thursday evening, although, Del Conte and Castiglione bought affirmation that their days of exchanging tales in hallways to go the time are about to return to an finish. The Big 12 introduced it had agreed in precept to permit Texas and Oklahoma to go away the league a yr sooner than anticipated and be part of the SEC previous to the beginning of the 2024 season.

“As I have consistently stated, the Conference would only agree to an early withdrawal if it was in our best interest for Oklahoma and Texas to depart prior to June 30, 2025,” Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark stated in a press release. “By reaching this agreement, we are now able to accelerate our new beginning as a 12-team league and move forward in earnest with our initiatives and future planning. I appreciate the approaches of OU President Joe Harroz and UT President Jay Hartzell to ensure an amicable conclusion to this process, and look forward to the bright days ahead for the Big 12 Conference.”

Though particulars nonetheless have to be finalized earlier than remaining approval from the 2 college techniques’ cadre of legal professionals and board members, the announcement caps off a number of months of productive – although generally heated – discussions that pointed within the course of an early exit settlement that may fulfill all events concerned.

Big 12 bylaws name for vital monetary penalties for any faculty withdrawing from the league, which might have probably topped nine-figures for every of the 2 packages. Neither the Longhorns or Sooners must lower a test for fairly that quantity, however they’ll have a mixed $100 million withheld from their convention distribution cash over the subsequent two years.

That cash will, in flip, be largely routed to the eight present Big 12 colleges (Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU and West Virginia) to maintain their convention distributions near the beforehand anticipated stage in 2024. The 4 incoming members (BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston) becoming a member of this July will obtain partial shares of convention distributions till the 2025-26 season, when the whole Big 12 will obtain full shares as a part of a media rights extension that kicks in with FOX and ESPN.

The elevated readability over Texas and Oklahoma’s early departure additionally solidifies the 2024 faculty soccer season as one of the vital vital within the sport’s historical past. In addition to the Longhorns and Sooners chanting “S-E-C” alongside 14 new friends that yr, USC and UCLA will each be becoming a member of the Big Ten on the similar time and the game will conclude with the primary version of a 12-team College Football Playoff.

Additionally, new NCAA media rights agreements are set to return into impact that yr, and it will likely be the earliest any potential event growth might happen in males’s basketball or different NCAA championship sports activities. Several key lawsuits impacting faculty athletics and student-athlete compensation are additionally anticipated to be heard in 2024, additional accelerating modifications for the whole enterprise too.

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In the interim, the work for all concerned is way from over. For most, it is merely on to the subsequent set of motion gadgets because the reverberations proceed to radiate across the nation from the seismic transfer UT and OU pulled in the summertime of 2021.

Oklahoma and Texas leaving Big 12 in 2024

Oklahoma and Texas leaving Big 12 in 2024

RJ Young reacts to the Big 12 announcement that Oklahoma and Texas are leaving the Big 12 in the summertime of 2024.

What does this imply for Texas and Oklahoma?

As a lot as Thursday’s announcement resulted in a number of raised glasses in celebration by these in energy round Austin and Norman, Del Conte and Castiglione are two athletic administrators that now discover themselves having to shepherd their respective departments by way of some short-term ache earlier than the time comes to totally notice the advantages of their transfer to the SEC.

That begins with finding out the finer factors concerning the pending income shortfall they face with out Big 12 distribution cash (simply over $42 million final fiscal yr) flowing into their coffers prior becoming a member of their new league in 2024. While each colleges have respectable reserves, beneficiant boosters and strong backing from their respective universities, each departments nonetheless have to exchange a bit of cash that made up over 20% of their respective complete revenues lately.

Still, it was not misplaced on many who mere hours earlier than the Big 12 despatched out their launch, the SEC had introduced a document distribution of $49.9 million per faculty. With a brand new media deal in place beginning in 2024, estimates have that quantity transferring to upwards of $60 million and trending additional north with every passing season. It will not be lengthy earlier than UT and OU will find yourself recouping their losses (after which some), however checks nonetheless have to be cashed till that occurs.

The excellent news is that the lame duck standing every had hovering over their heads will final only one extra marketing campaign and permit nearly all people to begin transferring on after emotions have been frayed fairly a bit within the final yr and a half because the convention confronted an existential disaster for the second time in a decade.

That’s to not say every little thing has been smoothed over although. In the 2023 soccer schedule that was introduced final month, Texas was handed a convention sport at former Southwest Conference rival Houston and a late November journey to Iowa State. Oklahoma has to play three of the brand new Big 12 members, together with a convention opener at Cincinnati and a November journey to chilly Provo the week earlier than taking over playoff participant TCU.

On high of all that, the Longhorns and Sooners will every have to make sure they get all of their athletic packages as much as par within the ever-competitive SEC. They have been planning for a lot of the previous 18 months or so for that eventuality, however now that issues are accelerated ever so barely, modifications nonetheless have to be made on every little thing from services to staffing to recruiting.

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What shall be most fascinating transferring ahead is simply how Texas and Oklahoma’s mindsets will change now that an finish date is in sight. Since lengthy earlier than the creation of the Big 12 again in 1996, the 2 colleges have largely pushed the agenda for the league and carried outsized affect because of each their success and their largess.

Soon they’ll come to appreciate that can not be the case in 2024 as they go from the leaders of the pack in a single convention to simply one in all 16 equals transferring ahead. At least then they will be within the room as an alternative of hanging round outdoors it.

What does this imply for the Big 12?

The largest winner of the whole ordeal could be any individual who wasn’t even in faculty athletics when the UT/OU departure was first introduced: Brett Yormark.

The new Big 12 commissioner was initially seen as an odd match, coming to the teetering convention from Roc Nation and the intense lights of New York City. However, he has shortly impressed these across the league for his aggressiveness in getting issues performed.

Despite being final in line for a brand new media deal among the many Power 5, Yormark managed to leapfrog the Pac-12 available in the market and safe an extension with current companions only a few months into the job. That he was capable of lock in aggressive charges after the lack of two flagship packages was much more spectacular.

With the decks now cleared of main line gadgets, consideration turns to probably the most fascinating space the place the commissioner has not – but – left a mark: realignment.

Yormark famous in his first feedback within the function approach again in August that the league is, “open for business” and acknowledged publicly in early December that the Big 12 had engaged in discussions with Gonzaga. The so-called “four corner schools” within the Pac-12 – Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado – have typically been talked about as splendid targets ought to they be in search of greener pastures and the commissioner has not been shy in expressing a want so as to add tv stock within the Pacific Time Zone.

San Diego State, lengthy seen because the Pac-12’s most suitable option to exchange USC and UCLA, has additionally been on the Big 12 radar for a lot the identical cause. What in the end finally ends up taking place on that entrance stays to be seen, however after enjoying a proactive function in ushering UT and OU out early this week, Yormark is way from performed along with his agenda.

As for present and future Big 12 members, the settlement reached on Thursday underscores the subsequent yr and alter needs to be much more aggressive than regular as they are saying goodbye (and a few may add good riddance) to the Horns and Sooners yet another time. Things have gotten testy occasionally among the many fan bases already and that is sure to choose up much more as some notice they could be on the final journey to Norman or Austin for years to return.

Eventually although, the comradery that the legacy eight colleges and their 4 new brethren have developed lately will enable the league to maneuver ahead, way more united than it ever has been. There’s now a chance to chart a brand new course for the Big 12 in ways in which simply weren’t doable with Texas and Oklahoma sticking round, and you may guess that could be a welcome sigh of reduction for a lot of within the convention footprint after a attempting two years.

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What is the SEC going to do?

While it was by no means unsure, the SEC moved shortly to formally settle for the Longhorns and Sooners a yr early, shortly after the Big 12 made issues official on their finish. The reality is, the convention has been getting ready for the eventuality for a while and have even considerably elevated their inclusion of UT/OU directors in league conferences in current months.

Now that such contractual issues are taken care of, the urgent situation on the agenda is about to take heart stage: what to do with the convention schedule transferring ahead as a 16-team entity in 2024. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has acknowledged that there are two ideas the league is exploring and neither will contain the present East/West divisional alignment.

First, the SEC might want to resolve in the event that they wish to play 9 convention video games or stick to the present eight-game slate. If it is the latter, they will have to be comfy with only one everlasting opponent on the schedule every year and the seemingly lack of sure annual rivalries like an Alabama-Tennessee or LSU-Texas A&M.

If it is a transfer to the previous, athletic administrators might want to vote on the three everlasting crossover opponents (and all that entails), whereas the league workplace engages with media companions over potential rights will increase that may end result from elevated stock.

With Texas and Oklahoma formally within the fold starting in 2024, such conversations can ramp up shortly this spring.

How are the Pac-12 or Big Ten impacted?

The Big Ten can take solace in understanding that the upcoming USC/UCLA transfer to the Midwest is not going to be the one main change in faculty sports activities subsequent yr, however Thursday’s announcement would not immediately influence the convention as a lot because it does others. For now, the league’s presidents are centered on discovering a substitute for outgoing commissioner Kevin Warren whereas workers members have been diligently getting ready a easy onboarding course of for the Trojans and Bruins to affix the present 14 colleges.

For the Pac-12, issues are a bit totally different because the convention is in the midst of an prolonged negotiation for brand spanking new media rights offers whereas undoubtedly feeling further stress from the Big 12 on the realignment entrance with this newest bit of stories. Interestingly, commissioner George Kliavkoff was noticed on SMU’s campus for a basketball sport on Wednesday, assembly with faculty officers – a usually clandestine assembly that social media shortly caught onto only a few miles east of the Big 12’s places of work within the Dallas space.

Though it might need been pure coincidence that Texas and Oklahoma’s departure was shortly agreed to 24 hours later, this seems like removed from the final time the place the 2 leagues will discover themselves intertwined with realignment information.

Bryan Fischer is a university soccer author for FOX Sports. He has been masking faculty athletics for almost twenty years at retailers corresponding to NBC Sports, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and NFL.com amongst others. Follow him on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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