Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay
by SGC Staff
There have been numerous changes in the college sports landscape over the past several years. The ones that had to be the most surprising would have to be OU and Texas leaving for the SEC. Back in 2021, the athletic departments at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas made it official that they planned to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC in 2025.
This touched off a storm of media speculation as to why both teams would make such a dramatic move. Once the shock seemed to die down the focus seemed to change to everyone asking if they would wait until 2025 to make the move. There is one huge motivator for them to wait and it is they would have to buy themselves out of the current television deal. It is believed that this buyout is in the ballpark of 80 million dollars for each university.
Why the SEC?
The announcement by OU and Texas that they would not be renewing their current TV rights deals and that they intend on joining the SEC (Southeastern Conference) in 2025. So, why would they select the SEC over the other three of the Power 5 conferences; Big 10, ACC, and PAC12? The answer is quite simple, TV exposure and money!
By creating the first super conference of 16 teams the SEC puts itself ahead of all of the other conferences. It is believed conference realignment will likely lead to more conferences doing the same. By joining the SEC, OU and Texas automatically improve the competition that they will be facing every Saturday.
If one of the SEC team realignments comes true then Texas and OU could be reunited with Texas A&M and Missouri in one of the four divisions.
What is the official reason for OU leaving the Big 12?
According to very prominent news sources the move has very little about money as most people would assume. Since OU was making quite a bit out of the Big 12 TV deal with Fox Sports and ESPN and ABC. No question that being part of the SEC and its lucrative TV deal would be a big deal. However, the more likely reason has nothing to do with the money and more to do with starting times of the televised games.
Ironically, the reason is tied to the lucrative TV deal that the University of Oklahoma is part of. How it works is Fox Sports’ “Big Noon Kickoff “ is its huge pregame show that starts at 11:00 am EST and they frequently turn to OU to help bolster their ratings. That means OU has to play a lion’s share of their games at 11:00 am.
According to the OU Athletic Department, this puts the football team at a major disadvantage when it comes to national recruiting. Since recruiting has become so hyper-competitive in the past decade, being at a disadvantage when you are trying to compete with the likes of Alabama, Georgia, and Clemson.
With that said, joining the SEC may eliminate or reduce the number of 11:00 am (often referred to as a “Rooster Kickoff”), however, it does put OU smack dab in the middle of potential recruiting battles with the very same schools.
What is the official reason for Texas leaving the Big 12?
Much like the University of Oklahoma, it would appear that the money was the primary motivation for the University of Texas to request to join the SEC with OU. If you look at it closely it would be easy to see that the money OU and Texas have each received from the current TV deal is pretty substantial (estimated at $34 million each).
However, with 16 teams that include two blue blood schools like OU and Texas, it is believed that number could swell to as much as $60 million. That in itself would be a significant motivator, however, according to reports, it would appear that Texas is much more concerned about the quality of competition in the Big 12 and whether or not the conference will even survive.
More conference realignments are on the horizon
After OU and Texas made their announcements that they intended on leaving the Big 12 for the SEC in 2025 other schools have also announced their moves. Most recently USC and UCLA have announced that they both intend on leaving the PAC12 to go to the Big 10. Both of these major moves leave several openings in each of the two conferences; Big 12 and PAC12.
According to reports the Big 12 is considering adding four new schools to its conference and that would bring them up to 12 teams the PAC12 will likely add at least two new schools. Depending on which new schools each of the conferences allows in there will be potential openings for other Power 5 conference schools to move.
What do fans of both OU and Texas think about the move?
If there is one thing that I know, college football fans are some of the most passionate fans you will ever find. They will go to very long lengths to support them and are not usually afraid to speak their minds. This is true of fans of the University of Oklahoma and University of Texas schools. To give you are idea, we are including some of just the many comments that we have found online from both OU fans and Texas fans.
OU fans have shared these thoughts on the move to the SEC:
“I think that OU and Texas are smart,” Evan Gentry said. “I think that they see the writing on the wall… You have to act and not get left behind.”
“I think it would be cool to be in the SEC,” said Josh Walters, an OU football season ticket holder. “It would be awesome to have LSU, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida coming to Norman every other year.”
Texas fans have shared these thoughts on the move to the SEC:
“Personally, speaking as a University of Texas alum, I think Texas is trying to establish itself as a national championship contender,” Texas Exes Laredo Chapter president Brenda Rojo-Burundian said. “To contend for a national championship, you have to beat the toughest teams, which can be found across different conferences.”
Fellow Texas alum and St. Augustine head football coach Jerry Martinez added, “All I know is that if you want to be the best, you must compete with the best there is. Iron sharpens iron.”