On Monday, Texas and Oklahoma plan to inform the Big 12 Conference that they’ll part ways with the league in 2025, according to a 247Sports report. The two programs are headed for the Southeastern Conference.
It’s a watershed move that would give more power to the increasingly dominant SEC and could spur another round of Power 5 conference realignment.
The move isn’t official, however: At least 11 of 14 current SEC schools would have to vote to approve realignment.
The desire to join the SEC is likely financially motivated.
- In 2019-20, SEC schools received about $45 million each in conference distributions, according to tax filings.
- That’s between $5 million and $9 million more than Big 12 schools.
- The 14 original SEC schools are projected to make about $20 million more when the SEC’s new media rights deal kicks in in 2024.
But a potential realignment could come at a steep price, according to an analysis of Big 12 documents by Kennyhertz Perry sports attorney Mit Winter.
Oklahoma and Texas would have to pay an exit fee equaling the final two years of conference distributions — about $80 million for each school, based on the Big 12’s 2019-20 tax filings.
The two schools wouldn’t receive yearly Big 12 distributions between the time they announce the move and when they leave, either — a loss of anywhere between $40 million and $160 million.
The Big 12’s grant of rights stipulates that the conference would also retain broadcast rights to Texas and Oklahoma games until 2025.