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Friday, July 30, 2021

SEC welcomes Texas, Oklahoma after boards accept invitations

In this Oct. 10, 2020, file photo, The Red River Showdown logo is displayed on the field of the Cotton Bowl, prior to an NCAA college football game between the University of Texas and Oklahoma, in Dallas. Texas and Oklahoma made a request Tuesday, July 27, 2021, to join the Southeastern Conference — in 2025 —- with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey saying the league would consider it in the “near future.”

In this Oct. 10, 2020, file photo, The Red River Showdown logo is displayed on the field of the Cotton Bowl, prior to an NCAA college football game between the University of Texas and Oklahoma, in Dallas. Texas and Oklahoma made a request Tuesday, July 27, 2021, to join the Southeastern Conference — in 2025 —- with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey saying the league would consider it in the “near future.”

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Oklahoma and Texas accepted invitations to join the Southeastern Conference in July 2025 on Friday, worried that their storied athletic programs were in danger of losing ground if they stayed in the Big 12.

A whirlwind week of official moves —- after who knows exactly how long the schools worked behind the scenes —- came to a conclusion when regents at both Texas and Oklahoma unanimously jumped at the chance to join the SEC.

“After thorough consideration and study it became obvious that standing pat would be falling behind,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said.

The SEC, already the strongest football conference in the country, welcomed its newest members, who arrive with 10 national championships between them as determined by The Associated Press.

“The SEC has already established itself as the premier conference in collegiate athletics, and the addition of these two tradition-rich programs will make for an even more competitive league in all sports,” Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said in a statement.

New broke of discussions between Texas and Oklahoma and the SEC last week. The schools and conference remained silent on the matter until this week.

On Monday, Texas and Oklahoma informed the Big 12 they would not be extending a media rights agreement with the conference after it expires in 2025.

On Tuesday, the schools applied for SEC membership.

On Thursday, the SEC presidents voted to extend invitations, and Friday it was a done deal.

“This is a move for stability and preservation and propagation,” Oklahoma President Joe Harroz said. “We believe this move is not just best for OU, we believe this move is best for our state.”

For now, the arrival of the Longhorns and Sooners in the SEC is four years out. Texas and Oklahoma are bound to the Big 12 and its other eight members by a grant of media rights that runs through the 2024-25 school year, concurrent with the conference’s television contracts.

“I want to just reiterate that we will be in the Big 12 for the foreseeable future,” Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte told his board.

The future of the Big 12 without its two strongest programs, in football and many other sports, is unknown. Earlier this week, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said “like many others, we will use the next four years to fully assess what the landscape will look like in 2025 and beyond.”

“The remaining eight institutions will work together in a collaborative manner to thoughtfully and strategically position the Big 12 Conference for continued success, both athletically and academically, long into the future,” he said.

None of that is likely to stop Texas and Oklahoma from trying to leave earlier than 2025 despite facing tens of millions of dollars in buyouts and potential legal headaches.

After all, a windfall awaits in their new conference.

Even before adding Texas and Oklahoma, the SEC was projected to distribute $67 million to each of its current 14 members starting in 2024 when a new deal with ESPN kicks in.

Del Conte and UT President Jay Hartzell met by teleconference with the board, which quickly signed off.

“Collegiate athletics is changing rapidly, whether any of us wants it to or not,” Hartzell said.

“We recognize that we must be willing to make changes with our eyes on the future. In a world of uncertainty and change, it is incumbent upon on us as leaders to protect and enhance our athletic program and university,” Hartzell said.

The last time the Big 12 was reconfigured by conference realignment, Texas and Oklahoma stayed put but Nebraska, Texas A&M;, Colorado and Missouri moved and TCU and West Virginia were added in the early 2010s.

With Texas and Oklahoma driving the value, the Big 12 landed television contracts with ESPN and Fox worth billions and settled in as a Power Five conference.

“What has changed between 2012 and today?” Harroz said. “The answer is everything.”

Harroz said it became apparent the Big 12 would be “last in line” for television networks among the power conferences when it came to landing a new TV deal. That would mean, among other issues, more less-than-desirable 11 a.m. kickoffs for many games for the Sooners.

That issue has become a major one for Oklahoma in recent years, especially after its home game with Nebraska this season – designed by Castiglione as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the so-called “Game of the Century” in 1971 between the Huskers and Sooners – was designated for an 11 a.m. Central time local kickoff by Fox Sports. Castiglione saie he was “bitterly disappointed.”

“Being last in line has consequences,” Harroz said. “You’ve heard conversation from (Castiglione) talking about not enjoying 11 a.m. kickoffs. Our fans talk about that. It also matters to student-athletes. When those who go before you, in terms of negotiations for 2025 and beyond, if those premiere slots are already taken up, it impacts things in a material way. It translates into disadvantages in recruiting the top talent, disadvantages for our student-athletes and a detriment to the fan experience.”

Harroz and Castiglione both praised their counterparts in the Big 12, particularly those from Oklahoma State, whose new president, Kayse Shrum, has been particularly critical of Oklahoma during the past week.

Harroz said the Sooners would like for their Bedlam rivalry with the Cowboys and Cowgirls to continue.

“Even with this change, we want to play Oklahoma State in every sport in every year,” he said.

Earlier, Hartzell thanked Texas A&M; for voting the Longhorns into the SEC and looked forward to renewing Texas’ rivalry with the Aggies and former Southwest Conference-mate Arkansas.

“A lot of work has gone into this,” Texas board chairman Kevin Eltife said, “and there’s no doubt in my mind it’s definitely the right thing for the future of athletics at our flagship.”


— AP freelance writer Murray Evans in Oklahoma City and AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo in New York contributed.

Comments

Austin Lopez 11 months ago

If I'm the big12 I'm making a play for the future. Cable TV is powerful but every year streaming services get bigger and bigger and bigger and honestly its the future. Most new smart TVs, computers and phones have streaming services such as Netflix. If I'm the BIG12 I'm getting on the phone with Netflix and collaborating on a BIG12 Network and rolling the dice on a streaming platform after 2025. You lost your heavy weights, I believe this would be all or nothing move.

Spencer Goff 11 months ago

Absolutely, I think a wide ranging conference in terms of locale combined with streaming network potential has far greater value long term than isolating a bunch of teams in one region and then trying to force feed the network to viewers.

Either an enlarged Pac 12 or a newly formed conference with the best schools combined among the MWC, Big 12, and AAC has a lot of potential down the road.

We haven't had cable TV or a satellite provider in this house for a decade, and the SUC Network is not going to change that.

Micky Baker 10 months, 4 weeks ago

My thinking is similar to that. I do like where your thoughts are going. It would give some athletic departments in the Mountain West and AAC opportunities that they do not have now while preserving the remaining Big 12 schools as a unit.

Rodney Crain 11 months ago

Netflix's business model has nothing to do with Live sports programing. Plus they are focused on world programming. The B12 is huge for us, but barely a blip for a streaming platform. If WV leaves, which they should now, staying a conference will be near impossible. We did not respond with growth after losing 4 schools, the price of not reacting is now due. No one to blame but ourselves. ESPN was more motivared then we were.

Kevin Woods 11 months ago

A couple of points on OU/UT leaving the Big 12. This is a win for KU football (wins/losses). Maybe Big 12 turns into a mid-tier football league and KU can rebuild their program.

Short term, KU Mens basketball will win more games and a few more conference titles but I think in the long term recruiting will suffer. The big time recruits will want to go where they can face top tier competition. The Big12 will turn into a Missouri Valley level of conference if we invite a bunch of lowbie schools.

KU should bail and go to the ACC/Big/10 and move forward.

John Joseph Gorski 11 months ago

Kansas need to be in a P5 conference. A mid tier conference means less revenue potential which means less money to pay coaches. I doubt Liepold sticks around if KU out of P5 status.

Brett McCabe 11 months ago

Austin, during the last realignment, I actually posted something similar. The guys who thought Zenger and Beaty were good hires told me that I didn’t understand how television works.

The problem with your plan is this: Bowlsby/Girod. Do you think either of these two mush balls has any clue whatsoever of how to get ahead of something? Girod’s approach? Everything’s fine. Bowlsby? It’s not my fault.

We pay millions of dollars a year to these two dolts to get it right. They continually fail. Because they are both epically bad at their jobs.

I’m amazed each day at the anger people show about paying a minimum wage worker anything close to a living wage. And yet incompetent, buffoons keep collecting millions as the building burns down around them.

Step one is to start firing people. Today.

Spencer Goff 11 months ago

I think Bowlsby is done by the time any new conference forms up. He is there long enough to fight it out legally. Girod, I have no idea. Pretty sure the BoR is going to tie this up pretty bad regardless of what he does. Maybe not.... We'll see.

As for people wanting us to just merge with the AAC and move on are forgetting there are some real turds there. Nobody is paying top dollar to Tulane unless you are getting a PhD there. If people really intend to form up a competitive streaming television conference, all the "rest" of the conferences will need to be reformed.

If you take the top of the AAC plus the top of the MWC and potentially BYU, you have a very solid conference that top to bottom I would say is already better at actual football than the ACC (Clemson and Friends) or the Big 10 (Ohio State and the Other Guys)

Plus you cover a lot of regions, and streaming will be after wider coverage similar to the NFL, whereas this new SUC Network is going to offer me the best the Confederacy has to offer. I am never going to care about that, even if it wasn't my team that it damaged, I could care less about Georgia vs. Vanderbilt. I can't wait to not watch it.

So honestly, I am fine if we get into a P5, and I am fine if a new solid conference reforms out of all the top left.

Spencer Goff 11 months ago

Can I go on record that I think ESPN will "urge" the ACC to take West Virginia next so that the Big 12 further destabilizes?

They need it to break down, so they will need to target the outliers, and geographically that is WVU, they'll be the next domino.

11 months ago

bowlsby is the biggest 🤡

David Atchley 11 months ago

One card the Big 12 still holds is they currently have a proverbial seat at the table of Power 5 Conferences. The Big 12 has squandered 10 years of growing the conference, adding teams, and has been questioned the entire way. Instead, Bowlsby has been allowed to kick the can down the road, and complacency has finally been the demise of the conference. How long were Oklahoma and Texas supposed to carry the Conference in television revenue, bowl game revenue, and relevancy? College Football is at a tipping point and these two schools recognized it.

This is an "eat or be eaten" climate of College Sports and both schools and leadership began making changes for this move over a year ago. Texas resumes long-standing rivalries with Arkansas and Texas A&M. Texas has completed the construction of their stadium that seats over 100,000. In order to sell-out games, have to offer match-ups people want to spend money to attend. The SEC gets a powerhouse football team and history in Oklahoma and a powerhouse brand and history in Texas, as well as other sports very compatible with the SEC.

The argument the AAC is not strong enough from top-to-bottom and Tulane as the example of its weakness is an interesting example. Do you believe the Kansas Football team can beat Tulane? A newly formed conference comprising of a merger of remaining Big 12/remaining AAC keeps the majority of schools in the Central Time Zone. That's important from a television scheduling standpoint. This conference would be formidable and arguably the best basketball conference in the Country. Most of all, keeps their seat at the Power 5 table, can attract a sizeable television/streaming partnership, and immediately have 16-19 conference members.

The delusion of Kansas Football being competitive in any Conference, is laughable. There was never a better time over the past 10 years to rebuild a football program. Kansas Football managed to get worse and not better. The Big 12 has shown it is not proactive, so its difficult to imagine they have the personnel and vision to navigate the turbulence.

Rodney Crain 11 months ago

If were being honest with ourselves, Texas and Oklahoma belong in the SEC, or B10. Texas competes for national championships with sports other than Football or Basketball. Oklahoma is clearly the best football school right now, and is strong with the rest of their sports. No other B12 school offers that on an annual basis. It sucks they are leaving but they had to leave to get better conference competition.

Mike Nicco 11 months ago

We should be up in arms every year about how our 3rd revenue producing athletic program produces such mediocre to pathetic results in all sports except men’s bball, track and a few recent years in volleyball. We need to demand better results.

Mike Nicco 11 months ago

Men’s baseball has just 4 Big 12 seasons at or above .500 since 2003, finishing 5th twice and 3rd once. All other years we are in the bottom half of the league.

Rodney Crain 11 months ago

Mike meet your Choir - Rodney Crain. Amen Brother!

Dirk Medema 11 months ago

Any notion that the Big12 will be saved by a football team(s) with good record(s) - against nationally irrelevant competition lacks an understanding of the situation. The non-power teams just don’t command the same value as those in the power conferences. A new platform/technology doesn’t change the relative value. If successful, the new technology will be eaten by the bigger corporations and we’re still at the same place. The Big12 will be dead within 2 years or a non-power conference in 4 at best. OU and UT can happily sit back and watch the chaos unfold. KU obviously can’t.

The irony to me is that the driver of this move seems to be the national indifference towards the Sooner-Husker rematch. Guessing it would be more appealing if the realigned team had stayed relevant nationally. It still makes me wonder if the realigned uni’s have been successful? From a W-L perspective, it doesn’t seem to be the case for any of them, but maybe there’s $ and non revenue sports implications I’m not aware of.

Rodney Crain 11 months ago

There is a very nice video on Hawk Central talking about their thoughts on what the B10 might do with TX and OU leaving. [I do not like the hawks they popped first in a google search, slowly ease away from the reply button lol] WV bails, it should be the ACC. The remaining B07 (the left overs) merge with the new P16 and the two divisions are the Pac8 and the B08 divisions. We welcome CO back to our division with open arms. You know like before all this happened. The old logo stuff has to be laying around somewhere. I like this idea. It makes for a great Men’s BB slate of games. It keeps west coast trips to 5 or 6 a season for fb and bb. Still a power 4 conference. Decent Football teams. A World Class Track and Field location, Hayward Field is amazing. Good Baseball, good volleyball. good grades. We can still play in preseason games. I like this fit. This I would love to see! I even have a slogan – “Now there's a Reason to stay up Late the P16”!!! -- TMP

Timothy Grillot 11 months ago

Is anybody ready to string up Perkins yet? I agree Mangino needed to be disciplined but not the witch hunt that followed just so Perkins could have his guy. Mangino made KU football relevant and competitive. I don't believe it would have ever been a national powerhouse but we could have gone to bowls and occasionally have years like 2008. In small defense, he did almost land Harbaugh whose wife is from metro KC but giving Gill the same contract with outrageous buyout was beyond dumb. Gill was not my first choice, but hoped he would work out thinking KU would be the school he would retire from years later. Sadly, Gill was just too nice, the players ran amock and we continued our spiral downward. Unfortunately, his record would be better than his successors. Weis? How can a guy recruit and win at KU when he could not at Notre Dame? No-brainer. Hiring a tight-end coach with little experience and no head coaching experience? Hiring Long and then Miles made sense on many levels but apparently, due diligence failed with Long and he gave Miles a pass he shouldn't have. I still question LSU's choice to bring all this up years after he had left, yes, I blame LSU for the latest round. That brings me to Leipold. Not my first choice either. He has the ability to turn things around. It will not be swift and it will not be easy, but it can be done. Snyder made the worst football program in Division I relevant, so should we.

My solution to this debacle is wave good bye to OU and UT. UT has been a cancer in the SWC and again in the Big 12. They have effectively ruined the SWC, the Big 8, and now the Big 12. I think it is futile to try and add a few teams and make the conference relevant other than we remain a Power 5 conference but when 2025 swings around we will not be looking at much from ESPN revenue-wise. I think the best solution is to give West Virginia a pass if they choose to head to another conference close by (if that is what they want) and the remaining teams negotiate with the PAC 12 to be a superconference. Something to one-up the SEC. Do something new and innovative. We give notice that this will occur after the 2025 season. Then we send ESPN, UT, & OU notice that they violated the contract by negotiating without proper notice to the rest of the conference. That they should be expelled from the conference because they have not acted in the best interests of the conference and violated the bylaws. Basically, we force them to negotiate a settlement so we can start the PAC-Infinity now rather than waiting for 2025 and extort money from the three to line our pockets. Also the new conference gives ESPN notice that they need to renegotiate both contracts or after 2025 we are going to the PAC-whatever streaming service (as Austin suggests). [Continued]

Rodney Crain 11 months ago

I was with you right up to one-up the SEC. 76.7% of the US population is in ET and CT. Football TV ranking - SEC, B10, ACC, then the PAC12. The B12 I would rank 3rd before the OUUTgate happened. Basketball ranking ACC B10 SEC P12. B12 2nd before. I rank the P12 last here due to being 3 time zones away from half of the country in the East coast. This hinders East Coast viewers. The NFL quietly massages their noon games, if they can, to the west coast so they can catch East Coast viewers. Makes Sense. Only the B10 can give the SEC trouble right now. It will be very hard to one up the SEC.

Matthew Pyle 10 months, 4 weeks ago

The Mangino firing was a bad joke. Cursed ever since and rightfully so. Perkins is a total horses ass

Timothy Grillot 11 months ago

Reading OU and UT's responses about how this is about competition is ludicrous. It is about the Benjamins. This comment along with wishing the rest of the Big 12 well is beyond disengenious. OU, UT, and ESPN are doing everything they can to sabotage the Big 12. Not to do what is good for college football but what is good for ratings and more importantly money. It just slays me to watch ESPN tout "new" rivalries over and over on their ads trying to get us to tune in. I'm not buying it. Nothing is like going to a KU-Missouri or KU-KSU game when important things are on the line. Although I cannot stand Nebraska, it is sad they are no longer in our league and we hope year in and year out to break the streak. We would have at least 7 votes available to decide these issues if OU and UT cast sour grapes votes about us joining another conference.

I wonder how long before UT starts grumbling when they cannot bully the other members as they did in the SWC and the Big 12? Texas football has not been very competitive in the last 10 years and I do not look for it to improve soon. OU is good but with no defense and stiffer competition, I don't see them going to the playoffs unless it is expanded. Dr. Girod suggests that we don't panic and I agree. Weigh our options but whatever we do outlast UT & OU so either they are stuck here until 2025 or they pay to leave early.

Len Shaffer 11 months ago

“We believe this move is not just best for OU, we believe this move is best for our state.”

Thanks, I needed a good laugh. The idea that OU gives a you-know-what about what happens to the rest of the state (and especially OSU) is hysterical.

Keith Gellar 11 months ago

This is huge when you take into account the NIL factor. SEC essentially becomes the NBA of college bball where players go to get paid and the rest go to whatever is left, ala, the G-league.

I think this kills us in recruiting. We might as well forget about top 25 or 50 picks. They're going to be a direct pipeline to SEC schools. Its doesn't matter is UT can cut it...but just going against the best of the best - players in football and bball are going to want that.

Add in the NCAA violations, we're now officially hemorrhaging. Only a miracle can save us now.

Rodney Crain 11 months ago

It is too early to see how NIL will affect things. The Alabama quarterback signed with a PR firm and a Sports agent Jul. 2nd. Even though he has never started a game and has not been named as the starting QB this season. 800k in NIL seems a little more like excitement and good planning from his team, then where the bar is going to be set. Marketing spends by companies are difficult to measure related to sales performance. Typically, these are mostly local marketing buys and limited in scope, thus the reach is small. Maybe a Heisman candidate would have national appeal, but who knows. No matter how nice Bryce is, Auburn is just 160 miles away. It would be like a Kstate PG having ads in the Lawrence market.

Bryce Landon 11 months ago

If Kansas' football program was respectable, the Jayhawks might have a chance to secure a better future for themselves in the Big 10. However, the lolcows who have run the University and its athletic department squandered the past decade with seasons of 9 losses or more (including two winless seasons) and a revolving door of quarterbacks, coaching staffs, and athletic directors. Now the chickens have come home to roost; Kansas is about to get relegated to a second-tier conference, and not only will the football team pay the price of its years of ineptitude, but so will all the other athletic programs at KU, including the revered men's basketball team.

Since men's basketball is the only thing the Jayhawks are known for, it seems to me that the only way to keep the program nationally relevant is to become a men's basketball independent, just like Notre Dame is independent in football. We have as much lore and mystique in basketball as the Fighting Irish have in football, so we can get ourselves a sweet independent TV deal of our own. We can then schedule who we want when we want and not have to worry about the TCU's and Iowa State's of the world dragging down our strength of schedule. We can play the powers of the sport like Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky more frequently, and it would make for great TV.

Independence is the only way to preserve the relevance of KU basketball. Let's pursue it.

David Atchley 10 months, 4 weeks ago

As much as we love and support our basketball team, the "lore" shrinks in comparison to Notre Dame Football. Every Catholic school in the Country is a feeder program for Notre Dame, every Catholic kid dreams of playing for the Fighting Irish and because of their "global" following, and has financially endowed, NBC has exclusive TV rights for Notre Dame Football. Kansas Basketball, though a successful program, has not won a National Championship since 2008. That's hardly "independent" status.

Bj Cassady 10 months, 4 weeks ago

UT football has not been revelant for some time and now they are in the big bad SE they will be like Vandy, eaten alive. OU had it's run of titles in the BIG12 but they are done. They do not have the defense to compete with Alabama, Florida, Georgia et al of the SEC. Football should be about the Fans first, Tradition second and money third, but in this case it was about chasing the gold. Look at Nebraska... enough said. As for what should we do, combine with the Pac 12 or get teams that have a national following : Army, Navy, Air Force and BYU. Not as good a draw as OU and UT but a lot of people watch the Army Navy game and follow the 4 schools. I also remember a few years ago Clemson wanted in the B12 as did Louisville. Not now though.

Brian Wilson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

You have to join and create an new division in either the Big10 or the ACC. I kind of prefer the ACC. It Immediately becomes the best basketball conference. The ACC is second in football championships to the SEC in football the past 20 years so KU just has to start from the bottom and move up.

Please go away if you think KU can't have a great football team. What a bunch of sore losers. IMO, Leipold is going to eventually shut you up. KU can find some talent...read the ring: Riggins, Sayers, Hadl, Talib,

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