Texas Bolting For The SEC Before Big 12 Contract Ends Is ‘Premature,’ According To AD

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If you follow college football, then you remember the wild few weeks last summer when Texas and Oklahoma announced they would soon leave the Big 12 for the SEC. The SEC voted to accept the two schools into the conference once their deal with the Big12 ended. Early conversations had them potentially buying out their contract, but Texas AD Chris Del Conte isn’t ready to make that decision, yet.

Both Oklahoma and Texas will join the SEC no later than 2025, but some experts thought the two schools would negotiate an early exit. The price tag to leave the conference early would hover around $76 million per school, according to multiple reports. Even though both schools could afford to pay that amount, especially with the television money they would receive once joining the SEC, Chris Del Conte still thinks that conversation is “premature.”

“That’s all way premature. We know what our obligations are to the Big 12,” Del Conte told the Austin American-Statesman. “We’re just, in the meantime, making sure that we do the best job for the Big 12 while we’re in the league.”

The confidence from both schools once the SEC voted them into the conference was overwhelming, as they knew this was the right move to make in the long term, given the way the college football landscape is changing. Even though the move seemed to have caught a few folks from the Big 12 by surprise, the SEC was ready to add more members to its conference, certainly with the amount of money being discussed in the new television package with ESPN.

Still, Del Conte made clear that he knows that while Texas will soon be in the SEC, they are in the Big 12 for now.

“Until we join the SEC, we’ll be a member of the Big 12,” he said. “We appreciate the opportunity that we do have. I look forward to the day we can compete in that league. But right now, we’re competing in the Big 12.”

I can promise you the conversations have started about a potential early exit, even if the price tag for the move is a bit high. These are the same two teams that pretty much snuck out of one conference in the dead of the night and joined another before anybody knew what was happening. So, don’t put it past Texas or Oklahoma to join the SEC before their current contract ends because money does grow on trees for these two teams.

Cincinnati, Houston, UCF and BYU are set to join the Big 12, and all of them but BYU are already looking for ways to get out of their current agreement with the AAC. So, if these teams can negotiate the reported $17-20 million exit fee, we could see them in the Big 12 by 2023.

Like the OU and UT negotiations with the SEC last summer, the early exit work is being done quietly behind the scenes to get them out of the Big 12 as quickly as possible. Do you really think the Longhorns and Sooners are going to wait four more years to join the powerful SEC?

I didn’t think so.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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  1. I sense the impending demise of college football on the horizon. Pride comes before a fall. All this NIL, realignment, and massive money business is rapidly separating college football from its essence of being: school pride. College football is turning into a player-centric sport because of all the money flying around, but the bad news is it’s too heavy. Most schools cannot keep up with this pace for long, so we’re going to soon see a split between a handful of major conferences and everyone else will just fall by the wayside. The spirit of the game is dying before our eyes. Generations of football history is being tossed into the trash with the swipe of a pen over money. Greed will never last long.

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