Thanks to last week’s bombshell it isn’t a secret as to where Oklahoma and Texas are planning to align their respective brands. However, today they have officially announced their intentions, through a joint statement, to not renew their grant of media rights following the current agreement’s expiration in 2025.
“The University of Oklahoma and The University of Texas at Austin notified the Big 12 Athletic Conference today that they will not be renewing their grant of media rights following expiration in 2025,” the statement started. “Providing notice to the Big 12 at this point is important in advance of the expiration of the conference’s current media rights agreement. 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 for the future.”
What’s important to notice in this statement is that both schools are willing to remain with the conference through the next three and a half years and not prematurely terminate the agreement. What this does is keeps both Oklahoma and Texas in control of their own destinies, as well as that of the conference, as it was widely thought last week that the two would break the agreement and make a move to the S.E.C. early. Now that ball is in the court of the conference who is scrambling to keep other member institutions from straying away in an effort to hold things together and potentially attract other universities to join. In other words, things didn’t get easier for the Big 12 through the release of this statement, they became much more difficult.
Now, if the conference wants to move in a different direction to stay afloat it must either offer to let Oklahoma and Texas leave early or keep them on board through 2025 as the giant elephant in the room in terms of negotiating with other institutions. Basically the Sooners and the Longhorns are holding all of the cards right now.
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