SEC's courtship of Texas, Oklahoma: Here's what's next for some big players such as Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten and NCAA

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Yahoo Sports 22 July, 2021 - 02:01pm 12 views

When did Texas A&M join the SEC?

The SEC officially announced the addition of Texas A&M on Sept. 26, 2011, with the school joining the conference in 2012. Texas A&M's move to the SEC wasn't particularly well-received by its Texas peers, with the Longhorns still refusing to schedule the Aggies in major sports. al.comFormer Texas A&M president explains SEC expansion process, why he’s skeptical Texas joins

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Interviews with athletics directors, politicians and industry sources reveal myriad ramifications from such a move. From the political fallout in the Midwest to the massive ripples in television with three major conferences seeking new deals to NCAA governance ramifications, it’s not an overstatement to say that the potential of Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC will shape the next generation of college athletics.

“I think it’s going to happen, and it’s the beginning of a lot of dominoes,” said a high-ranking college official.

One industry source predicted that this could be remembered as a seminal moment, much like the Supreme Court case in 1984 that opened up free market television for college football by breaking it away from the NCAA. 

“When you look back on the impact of realignment a decade ago, it really was marginal,” said another high-ranking college official. “This is different. It impacts how college athletics is going to be governed and what college athletics is going to be.”

What’s next and what’s the fallout? We examine all the major issues.

Yahoo Sports got different answers from different people on this issue. The Big 12's current television contract ends after the 2024 football season. It’s highly unlikely Texas and Oklahoma would want to slog through four seasons, as it’s a miserable experience for everyone when teams leave leagues.

A break-up like this is much like a divorce – nasty, expensive and endlessly complicated. Big 12 rules say that for a school to leave, the buyout is two years of television revenue. That would mean nearly $150 million combined for both schools. Do they pay that or broker a deal? Expect an agreement of some kind, as SEC commissioner Greg Sankey’s comment on focusing on the 2021 season has been interpreted that this could happen soon after that. As usual, the lawyers will be the big winners.

The timeline for Texas and Oklahoma to inform the Big 12 of their intentions could be as soon as a week from now. The longer things linger, the more obstacles could get in the way.

As usual in realignment, it’s politics. 

Texas A&M’s best hope for blocking the SEC is the political savvy of Chancellor John Sharp. The overt media leak is widely believed to have come from Texas A&M as the first mechanism to stop this move from happening. Sharp’s focus then went immediately to rallying his SEC allies. Could he convince Arkansas, LSU, Missouri or others to join him? He needs three more “no” votes, and the early feel around the SEC was that 13 of the 14 schools were on board with the move. 

“He’s got his political machine in motion,” said one industry source of Sharp.

The politics at the University of Texas center on Kevin Eltife, the chairman of the board of regents. Eltife is politically wired around the state and has been the key figure behind the scenes in maneuvering this. Who has the political muscle: Sharp in the SEC or Eltife in the state? We should know in the near future.

Oklahoma politics are different. Texas shouldn’t have the same problem in the legislature that Oklahoma could have. In the last round of realignment, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were a package deal. This time, longtime Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder and president Burns Hargis are gone. Oklahoma State has a new president, Kayse Shrum, and a new AD, Chad Weiberg. They lack the clout of their predecessors, as Hargis brought a political background. The possibility of Oklahoma politics getting in the way of this has quieted since the story broke.

The league is beginning to discuss contingencies Thursday, as it’s obvious that this would be a devastating blow.

Expect the Big 12 to be aggressive in adding schools. It'll knock on doors at Arizona and Arizona State. Perhaps it'll try and lure Colorado back and pry Utah. The Pac-12 is weak now, but the core of USC, Oregon, UCLA and Washington are all more attractive to be aligned with than any of the Big 12 schools.

From there, the Big 12 will decide how big it wants to get. It has to decide whether to add two, four or six schools. Four seems like the most reasonable number, with Cincinnati, UCF, USF, BYU and Boise State the most likely candidates from outside the state of Texas. The potential addition of Houston and SMU becomes complicated, as Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech wouldn’t have much interest in more in-state competition.

Remember, it’s streaming subscriptions, not cable boxes, that matter most. BYU would appear to have the best option for that, with its national following. But BYU is always complicated, which prevented the Big 12 from adding it in 2016 when the Cougars' complicated LGBTQ history became a factor.

UCF and USF have great markets, but would the Big 12 want two Florida footholds? Cincinnati is a preseason Top 10 team that has been working hard behind the scenes to build for this moment. It also brings a big market and fertile recruiting area.

This is all sub-optimal for the American Athletic Conference, as it'll be a familiar trickle-down. In a similar food chain fallout that followed the ACC cannibalizing the Big East a decade ago, the Big 12 will go after the most attractive AAC candidates. The AAC will do its best to hold on to its top programs but a reconstructed Big 12 without Texas and Oklahoma should offer a more attractive financial landing spot than the current AAC.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is one of the most respected leaders in the space. But it’d be a surprise if Bowlsby, 69, is around for more than a few years. One thing that could help the Big 12 recalibrate is that the Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten wouldn’t have much interest in any of the remaining schools. Oklahoma State isn’t a cultural fit anywhere, Kansas football is an abomination thanks to Les Miles and Jeff Long, and TCU is in an attractive market but lacks national cache. Baylor is hurt by its market.

This is where things get really interesting. Conference commissioners Kevin Warren of the Big Ten, Jim Phillips of the ACC and George Kliavkoff of the Pac-12 all are about to endure a baptism by blowtorch.

All are new enough to their jobs where they haven’t done a college sports television contract. The Big Ten’s contract runs through 2022-23. The Pac-12’s goes through 2023-24. The ACC is buried by the untenable deal with ESPN that keeps it frozen in what’s already a second-tier deal until 2036.

This impacts all of those leagues in significant ways. ESPN is going all in on the SEC, as it's expected to pay enough to get Oklahoma and Texas whole with the rest of the SEC, which is north of $60 million annually after 2023. That eats up money, inventory and the best television time slots for the SEC. The SEC wouldn’t be adding this without the extra $120 million a year for OU and Texas, and it’s reasonable to think there’d have to be a bit more sweetener to help the other SEC schools feel good.

“What happens if all of a sudden ESPN isn’t a bidder and Fox has less competition,” said an industry source. “The ripple effects are ... PHEW!”

The ACC is in a difficult spot because it ate a bad deal from ESPN to get a linear network. Now it is frozen for two decades in an antiquated agreement, as the ACC gives schools more than $32 million per year.

Phillips needs to do something dynamic to blow up that deal and get back to the bargaining table. Those options are limited, and ESPN isn’t going to be eager to give up a sweetheart deal on its end.

The loss of Texas as an option is a huge blow to the ACC’s ambitions, as multiple sources indicated that the ACC was caught by surprise Wednesday. The ACC’s other big play was Notre Dame, but the league failed to use any leverage it had on Notre Dame as a quasi-member the past few years. The new College Football Playoff proposal doubles as a security blanket for Notre Dame’s independence, which means little incentive for it to find a league home. Especially with its own lucrative TV deal coming.

The best remaining option for the ACC will be some type of scheduling arrangement or merger with the Pac-12. And that hints at another potential ripple from this move – is this going to be remembered as the pivot point toward super conferences?

There has long been a notion in college athletics that the Big Ten and SEC were pulling away from all the other leagues because of the financial success of their networks and the corresponding success on the field. Now, the Big Ten will go to market without the adrenaline jolt that the SEC got in its deal. The only corresponding move the Big Ten could make would be a play for Notre Dame, but that remains unlikely because of how secure Notre Dame’s future is in the new football playoff.

The issue for the Big Ten would be that Ohio State is isolated as the league's power. Could the Big Ten leverage the potential of its next deal with a move to answer, adding Virginia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, North Carolina and Clemson to cover the league’s Eastern flank and fortify the Interstate 95 corridor? There will be pressure on Warren to be bold. But the ACC is protected by a grant of rights through the length of its TV deal.

“It’s about combining forces now,” said a high-ranking college official. “Who teams up with who? Do we end up with four leagues? Do we end up with three? Or do we go to a 32-team NFL model. This is going to be earth-shattering.”

Kliavkoff joked on Twitter about his active first month as commissioner getting more interesting. The Pac-12 is last in line to go to market, and there’s a feeling that it needs to do something creative. There’s still great value in the West Coast, even if the football has been subpar for the past five years. But this move, the Big Ten deal and an upcoming deal for Notre Dame potentially put the Pac-12 in a position of weakness thanks to a lack of suitors.

The ripples of this potential SEC deal will be felt from coast to coast. And it’s not good news for any of the other leagues because of how much ESPN oxygen this sucks up. As one industry source put it: “The current schools in the SEC wouldn’t agree to this if all of a sudden their games are relegated to ESPNU. It’s not just money, it’s exposure.”

As much as this move is a football flex, the reality is that it’s also a power move by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey that will help dictate what the next iteration of government structure looks like in college athletics.

The NCAA has been weakened to the point where president Mark Emmert is publicly strategizing around the NCAA’s irrelevance. How much say do the conferences have in the future? Well, Sankey is the ultimate policy and process wonk. He couldn’t have thought through this without a full understanding of how this would help the SEC wrestle some of the decision-making under its own umbrella. The stronger the SEC gets, the more likely it is to envision some type of break from the NCAA. Sankey has been frustrated with Emmert and the NCAA for years, and that all plays into this type of move.

Sankey was already the most powerful person in college sports. This move would only amplify that, and the SEC would have an even a bigger voice in figuring out how the next generation of college sports are governed. Emmert’s general weakness as a leader began revealing itself around realignment a decade ago, as the NCAA has no control over what happens. 

The ultimate conference power grab would only lead to more power in the conference offices, as the SEC would become, in many ways, the axis of college athletics.

It’s not expected to change the 12-team playoff model, but we may see the first big reverberation from the expanded field. The attraction of the SEC with a four-team playoff would mean a much more difficult path to the CFP.

With a 12-team model and the multitude of opportunities for marquee wins, it’s likely that the SEC became a lot more attractive to Texas and Oklahoma. The Big 12 would offer an easier path for both, but there’s still a path available in the SEC with CFP expansion.

This is not a good day for Bill Self and Scott Drew. Those two national championship-winning coaches should be worried. As we’ve been reminded in the past, college basketball gets little consideration in the grand scheme of realignment.

The Big 12 in some reinvented form would still be a good basketball league. But this is an example that the fortunes of basketball programs, even elite ones, are an afterthought in the big picture. The billions of football money dictates these decisions.

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Read full article at Yahoo Sports

Report: OU, UT allegedly look at joining SEC

KFOR Oklahoma City 22 July, 2021 - 05:01pm

HOOVER, Ala. (Houston Chronicle/KFOR) — An exclusive report by the Houston Chronicle says the University of Oklahoma and University of Texas are looking at options to join the powerful Southeastern Conference (SEC)

This could certainly shake up college football leagues.

KFOR’s Dylan Buckingham reports “From what I’ve been told this OU to the SEC story has “some legs.” They also added that nothing is imminent. My source also said things are “far from done.”

From what I’ve been told this OU to the SEC story has “some legs.” They also added that nothing is imminent. My source also said things are “far from done.”

Oklahoma just released a statement on the reports, “The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly. We don’t address every anonymous rumor.”

Oklahoma State released a statement on the matter as well saying, “We have heard unconfirmed reports that OU and UT approached Southeastern Conference officials about joining the SEC.  We are gathering information and will monitor closely. If true, we would be gravely disappointed.  While we place a premium on history, loyalty and trust, be assured, we will aggressively defend and advance what is best for Oklahoma State and our strong athletic program, which continues to excel in the Big 12 and nationally.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The men and women of the Oklahoma City Police Department want you to get out and do your part to protect the community by donating blood.

The 4th Annual OKC Boots & Badges Blood Drive will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, July 24.

And then there's the word “hoe.”

Oklahoma City police arrived at 3200 NW 28th, The City of Hope, around 8:30 a.m.

OU Issues Statement On Report About SEC Inquiry

news9.com KWTV 22 July, 2021 - 05:01pm

A report Wednesday afternoon that OU and Texas have approached officials about joining the Southeastern Conference created quite the buzz, but as of yet no confirmations -- and no denials.

Houston Chronicle reporter Brent Zwerneman broke the story early Wednesday afternoon, and by late afternoon, we had statements from both the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

An OU spokesperson said in a statement: "The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly. We don't address every anonymous rumor."

An OSU spokesperson said in a statement: "We have heard unconfirmed reports that OU and UT approached Southeastern Conference officials about joining the SEC. We are gathering information and will monitor closely. If true, we would be gravely disappointed. While we place a premium on history, loyalty and trust, be assured, we will aggressively defend and advance what is best for Oklahoma State and our strong athletic program, which continues to excel in the Big 12 and nationally."

Report: Oklahoma and Texas Reach Out to SEC About Joining Conference

kfor.com 22 July, 2021 - 05:01pm

The report said an announcement could come within a couple of weeks.

The SEC would have to approve the addition of the Sooners and Longhorns with a vote from the current members, with any additional schools needing at least 75% of the votes to receive an invitation.

Oklahoma so far has not responded to requests for a statement, while a spokesman for Texas said they would respond to rumors and speculation.

The SEC has 14 members, including former Big 12 schools Missouri and Texas A&M.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The men and women of the Oklahoma City Police Department want you to get out and do your part to protect the community by donating blood.

The 4th Annual OKC Boots & Badges Blood Drive will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, July 24.

And then there's the word “hoe.”

Oklahoma City police arrived at 3200 NW 28th, The City of Hope, around 8:30 a.m.

SEC interested in adding Texas, Oklahoma, per reports

kentuckysportsradio.com 22 July, 2021 - 05:01pm

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

The talks of adding Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC are not one-sided. There are multiple reports this evening that the SEC is interested in bringing both teams on board, with one source telling Brett McMurphy that Texas will notify the Big 12 within the next week that it does not want to extend its media grant of rights, which expires in 2025. Another source said the reason the SEC would be interested in the expansion is it would increase the SEC Network’s footprint, which could allow ESPN to raise its subscription rates. (Money, money, money!)

Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger is also hearing that Texas and Oklahoma have made “serious” inquiries with the SEC about joining and are currently developing exit strategies from the Big 12. For the move to happen, three fourths of the league, or 11 of the 14 teams, will need to approve adding Texas and Oklahoma. According to Pete Thamel, that won’t be as difficult as you might think.

Spoke to a few more sources about OU-Texas to the SEC. Few things. They are tied tightly together. A&M's very public objections are the strongest, and getting 11 of the 14 votes doesn't appear to be an issue. Things could move quickly. More soon here….. https://t.co/HHRW1ZXTPm

— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) July 22, 2021

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

Could Texas and Oklahoma going to SEC impact BYU or Utah?

Deseret News 22 July, 2021 - 04:09pm

The Houston Chronicle and other outlets reported Wednesday that the Longhorns and Sooners could go to the SEC.

The subject that gets college sports fans riled up unlike any other is back after a bombshell report from the Houston Chronicle’s Brent Zwerneman Wednesday said that both the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners “have reached out” to the SEC about membership.

Numerous national outlets confirmed the report, and indications are that things could move quickly in terms of the two schools getting and accepting invitations to the conference, even if it’s a while before they would actually start competing in it.

With the news, fans around the country are in a frenzy trying to figure out if “their team” could be impacted, for conference realignment really never affects just a few schools. The ripple effects could be wide, especially with huge programs such as Texas and Oklahoma potentially on the move.

It’s within the realm of possibility that those ripples could reach the BYU Cougars and Utah Utes. As an independent in football (let’s be clear — all sports at a university are impacted in realignment, but football drives the discussions), there’s seemingly always talk that BYU would be a prime candidate to fill a conference spot somewhere, and the ripples within the Power Five conferences could be especially big, meaning Utah, as a member of the Pac-12, could be impacted.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the possibilities that could await the two Beehive State schools if Texas and Oklahoma do in fact leave for the SEC. Note that nothing has been reported regarding these things happening. They are just possibilities that logic dictates could happen.

There’s no denying that Texas and Oklahoma leaving for the SEC would be a gargantuan blow to the Big 12, and even that is probably understating it. The Longhorns and Sooners bring in the most money to the conference, and any replacement schools would be there just to try to salvage something.

That said, if the Big 12 takes the approach it wants to remain relevant, surely its leaders will call other Power Five and strong Group of Five schools in its general geographic region to see if they want to join.

If the Longhorns and Sooners were to leave the conference, there would be three teams from Texas (Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech), two from Kansas (Kansas and Kansas State) and Oklahoma State, Iowa State and West Virginia.

Both BYU and Utah would be strong candidates.

Things didn’t materialize for BYU the last time talks got serious about it joining the Big 12 in 2016. Things haven’t changed for the university in regard to its Honor Code, which was reportedly at least one reason why it didn’t happen. But if the Big 12 finds itself in need of a new member, the Cougars make sense as a solid program with a good following.

Utah makes sense, too, if the Big 12 wants to try to steal it from the Pac-12. The Utes have become a very good program in the Pac-12, and the geography of being in one of the easternmost states in that conference could make it appealing for the Big 12. Maybe the Big 12 would add both Utah and former member Colorado at the same time?

For Utah, going to the Big 12 would give it a chance to be more in the middle of the country, and it already recruits the state of Texas very well. There have also been rumblings that USC could want to go independent at some point, which would severely weaken the Pac-12.

Since Wednesday’s news broke, many have recalled how Texas was incredibly close to leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-12 a decade ago. Back then, the concept of “superconferences” was all the rage.

The thinking was that “BCS” teams would band together to create fewer conferences with 16 or so teams in each. As it stands, the Big Ten, ACC and SEC all have 14 teams. Texas and Oklahoma going to the SEC would obviously bump that up to 16.

Is it time for superconferences? If this were to happen, it could be mass chaos around the country as conferences realign in a big way.

There’s no telling where Utah would end up (the Pac-12 or Big 12 would probably make the most sense), but it could also open the door for BYU to join one of these conferences and the Cougars would present a solid option.

While the Big 12 would surely try to save itself if Texas and Oklahoma left by adding other schools, other Power Five conferences, maybe even the G5 American Athletic Conference, could try to take other schools from it.

This, in a lot of ways, would mean the end of the Big 12 as a power conference (maybe that would already be the case with the departures of Texas and Oklahoma regardless of who replaces them). That would be somewhat reminiscent of what happened with the Big East. It was once a very strong league, but various rounds of realignment since 2003 have severely weakened it.

It could also mean that Utah is impacted if some current Big 12 schools go to the Pac-12 and Utah ends up staying there. The impact wouldn’t be a whole lot more than having additional opponents in conference play, but it would be an impact nonetheless.

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