Texas, Oklahoma Meet With Big 12 Executive Committee About Possible SEC Move

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 25, 2021

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 14: Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks to the press during the Big 12 Conference football media days on July 14, 2021 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Big 12 announced its executive committee met with the presidents of Texas and Oklahoma amid rumors the schools could bolt for the SEC.

"The meeting was cordial, and the Executive Committee expressed a willingness to discuss proposals that would strengthen the Conference and be mutually beneficial to OU and UT, as well as the other member institutions of the Conference," said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. "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."

Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported additional details from the meeting:

Pete Thamel @PeteThamel

A source with knowledge of the OU and Texas call with the Big 12 executive committee tonight said that the schools declined to answer questions about when they began engaging the SEC. The general tone was, “We’re here to listen.”

The Houston Chronicle's Brent Zwerneman first reported earlier this week that the Longhorns and Sooners had reached out to the SEC about a move.

CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd reported Saturday the Big 12 had discussed one plan that would see Texas and Oklahoma collect more revenue than the rest of the conference. The schools would get $56 million annually, equating to 1.5 shares for member universities.

The obvious question is whether the horse is already out of the barn.

The Big 12 appeared to be teetering on the brink in 2010 before Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State recommitted to the conference. Perhaps the Longhorns and Sooners will return once again, but their exits feel inevitable. Even if the Big 12 makes it lucrative enough to stick around now, this could be a topic of discussion again in another five or 10 years.

There's also the not-so-small matter of how appeasing Texas and Oklahoma could alienate others in the Big 12.

The Athletic's Bruce Feldman and Sam Khan Jr. reported the general feeling in the conference is being "pissed at Texas and disappointed in Oklahoma." One athletic director also believes the SEC move has been in the works for some time.

"I think this has been going on for six months—at a minimum of probably three months—and ESPN has been right in the middle of it," the AD said.

Money is almost certainly a driving factor in this situation, so it's worth noting Dodd reported Texas and Oklahoma could be on the hook for up to $80 million apiece if they expedited their withdrawal in 2022.

If university officials believe playing in the SEC is enough to offset that kind of financial penalty, then it's difficult to see how getting a little more from the Big 12 would be enough for them to abandon the entire pursuit.


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