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Texas, OU Indicate Desire to Leave Big 12 Despite Saying Move is a Rumor

TX, OU
JEFFREY MCWHORTER/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Social media erupted over the weekend when it was reported that The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Oklahoma were considering leaving the Big 12 for SEC competition. Originally reported by the Houston Chronicle, officials from both schools dismissed the move as mere rumors. On Monday, July 26th, the schools announced that they will not seek to reaffirm media contracts set to expire in 2025, signaling what many are calling an imminent desire to leave Big 12 play.  

An unnamed spokesperson for UT Austin told the Austin American-Statesman that there was no story to be had.  

Speculation swirls around collegiate athletics. We will not address rumors or speculation,” the spokesperson is reported to have commented.  

OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione deflected on questions about the intentions of the #1-ranked college football program in the Big 12. 

“We’re watching the changing landscape like everybody else. We’re trying to manage all the new things coming our way like everybody else and learning as we go,” Castiglione said. “Come on, man. I don’t even want to be associated with rumor-mongering. It seems like Groundhog Day. It seems like once a year, people start to trigger some kind of article and start talking about things that might change down the road.” 

In 2012, Texas A&M left Big 12 competition for the SEC, at least in part to separate themselves from marketplace competition with Texas.  

“We want to be the only SEC program in the state of Texas,” Texas A&M Athletics Director Ross Bjork told reporters. “There’s a reason why Texas A&M left the Big 12 — to stand alone, to have our own identity and that’s our feeling.” 

Fans of Texas football who are excited about the opportunity to see one of the state’s best college football rivalries reignited may get their wish, though Bjork thinks the possibility is slim. 

“People ask about scheduling the game. And my answer is, look, they’ve moved on and we’ve moved on,” Bjork said to ESPN. “I think that’s the path we’ve been going down, and that’s the path we want to continue.” 

With millions tied up in media contracts, the move from Big 12 to SEC promises to be messy at best. Unraveling the media contracts may take a Herculean effort, particularly since some of the contracts are not scheduled to expire for a decade. How and when a move would happen is speculative at this time, but it wouldn’t be likely before the 2024-25 season.  

The move would require, among other steps, a three-fourths vote in favor by SEC member schools. Texas A&M clearly is not in favor of the plan.  

SEC executives met with representatives from OU and Texas on July 25th via teleconference. Specifics of the talk aren’t known, but League Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the meeting was “cordial” in a statement. 

“I expect that we will continue our conversations in the days ahead and we look forward to discussing thoughts, ideas, and concepts that may be of shared interest and impact,” Bowlsby said.  

Requests for comment from Texas representatives were not answered.   

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