The hammer finally came down in the Big 12 on Monday as Oklahoma and Texas ended speculation about their reported departure from the conference by announcing that they would not renew their grant of media rights once the current deal expires in 2025. The two schools shared the news in a joint statement, taking a unified step toward leaving the Big 12.
“The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Oklahoma notified the Big 12 Athletic Conference today that they will not be renewing their grants of media rights following expiration in 2025,” the statement read. “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.”
A few hours after the two schools shared the news, the Big 12 responded with a statement of their own. The conference confirmed that Oklahoma president Joe Harroz and Texas president Jay Hartzell expressed their intentions to not extend their grant of media rights on Monday.
“Although our eight members are disappointed with the decisions of these two institutions, we recognize that intercollegiate athletics is experiencing rapid change and will most likely look much different in 2025 than it does now,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement, per ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg. “The Big 12 Conference will continue to support our member institutions’ efforts to graduate student-athletes, and compete for Big 12 and NCAA Championships. Like many others, we will use the next four years to fully assess what the landscape will look like in 2025 and beyond. The remaining eight institutions will work together in a collaborative manner to thoughtfully and strategically position the Big 12 Conference for continued success, both athletically and academically, long into the future.”
Big 12 weighs in ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Dv0xvsN4qf
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) July 26, 2021
The statement from the Big 12 seems to admit defeat, as the other eight member schools appear to be planning to move forward without Texas and Oklahoma. That sentiment is with the assumption that all of the other members of the conference will stay put in the shaken conference.
Texas and Oklahoma did not confirm the reports from last week that the SEC is their desired destination, but signs still point in that direction. Whenever the time for a decision comes, the two schools will surely reach a joint conclusion.