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Texas, Oklahoma has a tough road to the first college football superconference, but it’s not impossible

Texas and Oklahoma are in the midst of what could be another major change in the reorganization of college football, perhaps the biggest in the history of the sport.

According to Wednesday’s report Houston Chronicle, 12 large schools have turned to the Southeastern Conference to join another round of readjustment. The Chronicle, citing a “senior university official with knowledge of the situation,” reported that he could lead the conference “within two weeks”. The SEC would become the first college football supervisor to be effective.

A Texas spokesman, who spoke to the Chronicle, was unaware of the talks with the SEC before commenting further. Oklahoma also released a statement in response to the news: “The athletics landscape at the university is constantly changing. We are not dealing with all the anonymous rumors.”

MORE: Creating a “Super League” for college football: These 15 schools would make the cut in 2021

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey declined to comment to the Chronicle before later telling SEC Media Days reporters that the conference is not beyond this year.

“We are only concerned with the 2021 season,” he said. “Someone threw out a report of unnamed people.”

AL.com he confirmed the chronicle’s report, saying that “several college football” insiders confirmed that Red River rivals had taken “numerous steps” to facilitate the move. There is no doubt that schools want to leave the Big 12 to play independently of each other or to play together.

Longhorns and Sooners have been the organizations since the Big 12 in 1996, when Southwest Conference Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas Tech joined the Big 8. The conference suffered heavy losses in the final round of college football alignment. in the early 1990s, founding members Colorado and Nebraska moved to the Pac-12 and Big Ten, respectively. In 2011 Missouri and Texas A&M continued their 2011 season to join the SEC.

Texas A&M sporting director Ross Bjork responded to the Chronicle report that the SEC AD has not discussed adding Texas or Oklahoma. Texas also laughed at the idea of ​​joining the SEC. According to the sport illustrated by Ross Dellenger:

Bjork’s opposition to the move isn’t the only roadblock in Texas and Oklahoma if they want to jump off the Big 12. Here is a list of the many barriers that can prevent schools from becoming an SEC superconference:

Existing broadcasts with ESPN, Fox

According to the author’s report Front Office Sports, The SEC earned $ 728.9 million in 2020 – roughly $ 300 million more than the Big 12 reported earnings ($ 409.2 million). That difference, along with the SEC’s new deal with ESPN – which pays more than $ 300 million a year at the conference and is slated to take effect in 2024 – would be appealing to outside groups looking to gain SEC fame. .

In addition, both ESPN and Fox – Big 12 with broadcasting and streaming rights – he allegedly refused early negotiations on television agreement before the agreement ends in 2025.

That said, the rights of the 12 Big Rights with the big networks could blur potential negotiations between Texas, Oklahoma and the SEC. Texas has its own deal with ESPN called the Longhorn Network, which pays the school 15 million dollars a year and forces the network to contract 200 athletics events in Texas by 2031 during the 2031 school year.

In 2019, Big 12 and ESPN reorganized their broadcasting agreement – which ends in 2025 – with the exception of Texas and Oklahoma, so that all member schools can make an inventory of ESPN +. The agreement, according to the Sports Business Journal (Via Austin American-Statesman) Pays $ 22 million a year to the conference. Oklahoma sold third-party rights to Fox.

ESPN is likely to rescind the Longhorn Network deal if Texas and Oklahoma were to move to the SEC, but Fox is likely to split with the two largest college football assets before the 12 Big Contract ends in 2025. In addition, the addition of two would reduce the amount that each SEC member group would achieve with the new ESPN rights agreement; it is likely that ESPN will be forced to pay more once a year in a deal with the conference.

ESPN could consider this move because it could be offset by a reduction in the future agreement on television rights, with a Big 12 that is more attractive to the Big 12.

MORE: How the proposed 12-a-side College Football Playoff would work

12 large exit fees

If Texas and Oklahoma left the Big 12 before the TV deal ended, it would cost the two schools little money. For example, Nebraska and Colorado paid exit fees of $ 9.25 million and $ 6.86 million, respectively, to attend their new conferences. Missouri and Texas A&M both paid $ 12.4 million to the SEC.

Those fees, however, were paid in 2010 and 2011 – before the Big 12 signed a $ 2.6 billion, 13-year deal with Fox and ESPN. It’s unclear if Texas and Oklahoma would have to pay exit rates before they left the SEC in 2025, but it would almost certainly be more than what Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M have paid to leave the Big 12.

Longhorns and Sooners would be willing to receive that sanction with the SEC’s promise of future revenue – but would their member organizations be willing to accept them?

Texas A&M, Missouri, opposition

It is likely that Texas A&M and Missouri would strongly block access to the Texas and Oklahoma conference if the issue was voted on by the SEC president. It is clear that the two institutions – along with Colorado and Nebraska – left the Big 12 to escape the long shadow of Texas at the conference, in part because of its dedicated network and disproportionate power over its institutions.

Bjork is already registered against any conduct Texas has committed against the SEC. The statutes of the conference state that at least 11 out of 14 schools must vote yes to extend an invitation to a potential new school.

Although Bjork and A&M president Michael Young’s initial tendency would surely be to appear against Texas, revenue-raising orders could put pressure on him to vote “yes” within the conference.

SEC supplement, 12 high resistance

It’s not certain how other non-SEC schools in Missouri and Texas would vote on this issue. Adding two Big 12 programs to a conference that already includes Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Auburn – to mention Texas A&M and Missouri – would make it harder for teams to win the conference title and get a college degree. Football playoffs.

There is also the issue of division readjustment, which would surely leave many teams happy. Texas and Oklahoma could go to the SEC West, forcing Alabama and Auburn east, to the chagrin of Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Bands left in the West – Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Mississippi State – probably wouldn’t be happy with the additions.

BENDER: How the SEC would align with Texas, Oklahoma

The SEC could place teams in different departments, as it did in 2012 with Texas A&M and Missouri, because that would create a greater balance between divisions on paper. Or the conference could explore a format for organizing venues that would probably sacrifice parity or a competition for traditional conferences. Moreover, it is unlikely that teams would react positively (doors closed, at least) to additional competitions.

12 large groups have already given statements in response to the news, such as those from Oklahoma State:

There are other sports that the SEC would consider next to football as well. Texas and Oklahoma would bring powerful programs in basketball, softball, baseball, gymnastics, men’s and women’s golf, and more. These would add to the impressive inventory of content available to ESPN so that it can win a new agreement on the rights of the network, the SEC, and its member organizations. This is not to say about the academic merits of these universities.

But football is first and foremost in the SEC, and the additional roadblocks the conference may have about the sport (especially with the readjustment of the playoffs) might be enough to hinder entry into Texas and Oklahoma.




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