Oklahoma, Texas leaving Big 12 early to join SEC right as USC, UCLA land in the Big Ten
Less than a week after it was reported that an early departure from the Big 12 was unlikely, Oklahoma and Texas reached an agreement with the league on Thursday to break from the conference and join the SEC for the 2024 season. That lines up with when USC and UCLA will play their first seasons in the Big Ten.
The era of superconferences is nearly here.
Oklahoma and Texas will owe the Big 12 a combined $100 million as an exit fee, set to be made up by withheld distributable revenues. According to SI’s Ross Dellenger, much of that exit fee is expected to be distributed to the 8 Big 12 legacy universities to offset an expected decrease in their 2024 conference revenue.
Dellenger also reported that networks ESPN and FOX played a key role in the early departure — ESPN owns exclusive rights to the SEC in 2024, and with OU and Texas joining the league, FOX stood to lose crucial inventory — but Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark helped to push the compromise across the finish line, allowing the Big 12 to move on.
— Oklahoma Sooners (@OU_Athletics) February 10, 2023
— Texas Longhorns (@TexasLonghorns) February 10, 2023
On July 1 of this year, the Big 12 welcomes 4 new members — BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston. The league will feature 14 teams this upcoming season, what will be the final year in the league for the Sooners and Longhorns.
“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,” Yormark said in a release from the Big 12. “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.”