Oklahoma and Texas took the first formal step Monday toward moving to the Southeastern Conference, notifying the Big 12 they would not be renewing an agreement that binds the league’s members through 2025.
The schools sent out a joint statement that made no mention of the SEC and said “the universities intend to honor their existing grant of rights agreements.”
“However, both universities will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving collegiate athletics landscape as they consider how best to position their athletics programs in the future,” the schools said.
The “grant of rights” gives the conference control of the school’s media rights and runs concurrent with the Big 12′s television contracts with ESPN and Fox, which expire in 2025.
The Big 12’s TV deals make up the bulk of the conference’s revenue. The conference distributed $345 million to its 10 members this year ($34.5 million apiece), down from the previous year because of the pandemic.
The SEC announced an average payout to each of its members of $44.6 million in January.
Texas and Oklahoma have been in discussions with the SEC about joining the league, though neither school nor the powerhouse conference has acknowledged that publicly.
Joining another conference with the grant of rights still in effect is a nonstarter. Texas and Oklahoma would bring no value to their new conference and it would cost the schools tens of millions of dollars per year.
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