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Report: Texas, Oklahoma in 'Active Discussions' to Leave Big 12 Early for SEC

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 31, 2022

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Texas and Oklahoma may get their early exit to the SEC after all.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported there are "active discussions" for Texas and Oklahoma to leave the Big 12 as the conference engages TV networks for a new contract. The two powerhouses are slated to join the SEC on July 1, 2025.

Texas and Oklahoma have maintained they will stay in the Big 12 until 2025, in large part because of the financial penalties the schools would face for leaving early. Each school must pay an $80 million exit fee to leave in 2025; any earlier departure would increase that figure.

"There's a lot changing around us. If that facilitates a conversation that needs to take place about an earlier departure, then it does," Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said at the Texas High School Coaches' Association conference. "But I have said very consistently—I know my counterpart [at Texas] Chris Del Conte said the same thing, as have our presidents—that we informed the conference that we would lead after '25 and we plan on fulfilling our obligations and do the honorable thing."

Del Conte also affirmed his school's commitment to the Big 12.

Conference commissioner Brett Yormark has been increasingly open to Texas and Oklahoma leaving early, saying he could envision a "win-win" scenario for all sides. That scenario would likely mean the Big 12 asks for a nominal fee over the $80 million it's owed for the exit; it's become apparent Oklahoma and Texas have no interest in adding extra coin to the deal.

That said, a clean break could be beneficial to the Big 12. BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF are all set to join the conference next year, and the Big 12 may want to move forward with new television contracts that feature only schools that will be around for the long haul.

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