After wide speculation, the University of Texas at Austin and Oklahoma University have begun the process of leaving the Big 12 conference. The two universities notified the football conference that they will not be renewing their grant of rights agreement following its expiration in 2025.
The universities joint statement reads as follows, “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.”
The Longhorns will be joining Texas A&M in the Southern Conference, promising to take SEC to official killer status and thus creating havoc for the schools remaining in Big 12.
It would seem like a simple league change shouldn’t involve so much theatrics, but the matter has escalated so much that there was even a bill presented in Texas legislature’s special session to try to stop the school from making that call: “A decision to switch to a different athletic conference affects the opportunity and stability of our publicly-funded universities across the state and must be fully vetted in the most transparent and comprehensive manner possible,” said Rep. Dustin Burrows, who authored the bill.
The Texas House involvement in the matter comes as no surprise, considering so many of them went to the schools that are set to be the most affected by UT leaving the Big 12. TCU, Baylor and Texas Tech are now left in a much smaller league with sports programs that may lack the fan base, appeal and investment that schools such as UT and Texas A&M have.