Barring an unanticipated roadblock, Texas and Oklahoma are SEC bound. The question now: how soon?
According to the schools and conferences involved in this deal, the Longhorns and Sooners will move to the Southeastern Conference on July 1, 2025. Both Texas and Oklahoma are contractually committed to the Big 12 until then. Despite the headlines, the Big 12 should have four more years with its flagship programs.
On Monday’s episode of McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning, Paul Finebaum discussed the timeline of Texas and Oklahoma’s moves––and whether the schools could escape their contracts earlier than 2025.
NEWS | The @SEC Presidents & Chancellors voted unanimously Thursday to extend membership invitations to the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas to join the SEC effective July 1, 2025, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2025-26 academic year.
— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) July 29, 2021
“Yeah, I think really, it all comes down to the Big 12,” Finebaum said on the show. “And yeah…I don’t really fault [Big 12 Commissioner] Bob Bowlsby for his whining, he’s positioning, he’s overdone it, and I don’t think he’ll continue to do it, because nobody really wants to hear a whiner. But what he’s really doing is positioning himself for a negotiation with ESPN. And I think that’s where this is going to be driven.”
As Finebaum points out, negotiations center around the Big 12’s massive TV deal. A Texas- and Oklahoma-less Big 12 is not the product ESPN signed up for. If Commissioner Bowlsby wishes to part ways with the Longhorns and Sooners before 2025, he’ll have to find a way to assuage ESPN.
“Once the Big 12 figures out his path to the future,” Finebaum said, “we will either see Texas and Oklahoma remain or bailout … I still think it happens sooner but it’s impossible to tell until everything else clears up.”