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Reverberations continue after sources say UT, OU plan to leave BIG 12

Early next week (Tuesday or Wednesday), both schools will jointly file a letter with the BIG 12 and say they’re not going to renew their media rights, sources say.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, Texas tight end Andrew Beck (47) wears the Golden Hat and celebrates with fans after defeating Oklahoma 48-45 in an NCAA college football game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 9 Texas are playing in a rare Red River rivalry rematch in the Big 12 championship game on Saturday. It is the first time in 115 years that the border state rivals will play twice in the same season. (AP Photo/Cooper Neill, File)

DALLAS — Updated at 4:51 p.m. Friday day with new information.

Multiple sources confirmed to WFAA that the University of Texas and Oklahoma's break from the BIG 12 is imminent, and we now know at least some of the timing involved in their bid to jump to the SEC.

Early next week (Tuesday or Wednesday), both schools will jointly file a letter with the BIG 12 and say they’re not going to renew their media rights.

Then it's up to both schools to go to the SEC to apply for acceptance -- and then it's up to the SEC to decide what it wants to do.

On Thursday, sources confirmed to WFAA there will be a meeting at 5 p.m. Central Time between the BIG 12's presidents and athletics directors. 

After Texas and OU tell the BIG 12 they will not renew their media/television rights with the BIG 12, nothing happens until the end of 2025. Both universities will stay and play in the BIG 12. After the end of 2025, they will begin in their new conference (providing they are accepted).

As for why a pair of schools that are clearly at the top of the pecking order would make a move, simply follow the money.

The BIG 12 TV contracts expire in 2025.

A move to the SEC would ensure millions more for each school on an annual basis. And for the SEC, Texas and OU's 117-year old rivalry would certainly be attractive, and it would also make the SEC the first 16-team mega league, and a model for the future of college football.

Texas and OU will lose money if they stay in the BIG 12.

As a package deal, Texas and OU are more attractive than individually.

RELATED: Report: Texas, Oklahoma discuss move to SEC

Both schools attempted to dismiss earlier reporting on this as a rumor. Insiders say that UT Board Chairman Kevin Eltife has long been concerned about the everchanging landscape of collegiate athletics and has worked with the university administration to position the Texas Longhorns for success in the coming era.

Meanwhile, Texas A&M’s athletics director says they’d like to remain the only Texas team in the SEC.

There are obstacles that could stand in the way.

Could the issue become political and have someone like Gov. Greg Abbott get involved? There are indications it could, according to reporting from the Texas Tribune. 

On Friday, multiple Texas state legislators announced a bill that would require legislative approval of any conference realignment.

"Texas lauds some of the finest universities and athletic programs in the nation. They play a significant role in the economic development, tourism, and overall prominence of their respective regions. 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."

What’s to happen to the rest of the BIG 12, with schools like TCU, Baylor and Texas Tech?

Those are all answers that could come in short order after Texas and Oklahoma make this stunning move in just six days.

In a statement, Baylor said they understand the "significance and urgency of this matter."

"Conference affiliation has the power to greatly enhance our institution’s academic and athletic national standing and visibility while also expanding academic and research opportunities available to faculty, students and our communities. For our state, it is critical to our economy and Texas’ overall reputation to maintain five 'Power Five' institutions, reinforcing the Lone Star State’s athletic preeminence."


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