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The agreement that some thought would not happen has finally been agreed to. Oklahoma and Texas have reached a financial deal with the Big 12, along with its television partners for an early exit.
All parties have finalized the agreement, which allows the Longhorns and Sooners to join the SEC in 2024. As I previously reported, there was still a path for Texas and Oklahoma to leave the Big 12 earlier than 2025, though some thought the deal had been stalled.
Now, after months of negotiations between the three sides, the SEC will get its way and have both teams ready for the ESPN contract to kick in. ESPN and FOX were at the center of these negotiations, both parties wanting something out of the early exit. According to one report, FOX will receive a $20 million payout, of the $100 million that both schools are forgoing in revenue.
The details of the financial side of things, there technically will not be an exit fee. In this case, a $100 million exit fee will turnout to be the Big 12 withholding distributed revenue from Oklahoma and Texas. Both schools will make up for this with revenue from the SEC and television rights in the future. In short, their yearly pay will be reduced over the next eighteen months, meaning other Big 12 schools will see an increase in their share of money.
According to sources, both Oklahoma and Texas will not receive its full SEC revenue share in their first year with the conference. As part of the agreement with FOX, a non-conference game between Michigan and Texas, will now have the Longhorns playing the Wolverines in 2024 in Ann Arbor, while the return game will be played in 2027, in Austin.
“Finding a satisfactory resolution to this matter that is fair to all parties, and best positions the Big 12 moving forward has been a top priority,” Texas Tech University President and Big 12 Conference Board of Directors Chairman Lawrence Schovanec said in a release. “This agreement would not have occurred without the collaboration of the presidents and chancellors of all 10 Big 12 universities, and our tremendous partners at ESPN and FOX. I am very grateful for everyone’s efforts to make today’s announcement possible.”
Money Will Not Be A Problem For Texas, Oklahoma In SEC
The money will not be a problem for both schools, with revenue sharing within the SEC expected to hit the $70 million mark in the coming years. It was announced on Thursday that the conference wrote each school a check for almost $50 million, after the 2022 fiscal year.
“The Southeastern Conference learned today of the decision by the Big 12 conference to alter the membership exit date for the University of Texas and The University of Oklahoma. We are continuing our preparation for this membership transitio, and we look forward to welcoming the conference’s new members and moving into our future as a 16-team league,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said.
In regards to Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12, Longhorns President Jay Hartzell mentioned that they were ready to fulfill their obligations to the conference.
“We have always been committed to fulfilling our contractual obligations to the Big 12. The collegiate athletics landscape has continued to evolve rapidly, and working together to accelerate our exit produced benefits for all parties,” said Jay Hartzell, UT President.
It should be noted that during negotiations over the past few days, FOX was looking for compensation or some type of offset games that would help with the loss of two powerful schools. Under the former agreement, FOX had the rights to significant inventory involving both schools.
Now, the tide has shifted in terms of conference realignment, with the SEC getting their two teams early, as many expected. The SEC will now look towards moving its scheduling format, with both teams committed for 2024. Moving to a nine game conference schedule has been the hot topic over the last few years.
Either way, the Longhorns and Sooners are headed to the SEC a year early, joining the conference on July 1st, 2024.