Will Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big 12 early to head to the SEC? | College Football Enquirer

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss Texas and Oklahoma’s desire to leave the Big 12 a year early for the SEC, and break down why the broadcast partners, ESPN and Fox, are making the move extremely difficult.

Video transcript

DAN WETZEL: Yeah, these TV deals are insane. All of a sudden, Texas got to play all these. They brought out that schedule.

Like, imagine next eight years. I got one more trip out to Kansas State. We got to pay off our debt.

Texas and Oklahoma trying to get out of the Big 12 and into the SEC before 2025. That is the deal. And they're trying to get out, and the Big 12 is trying to maybe work a deal or maybe not. I don't know. Ross, what is going on with this forever scrap that these guys want to just get to their new house, and they're stuck?

ROSS DELLENGER: You know, what complicates this one is, well, first of all, there's obviously a lot of different parties involved, and everybody wants something different, a little different. And compromise is difficult, as we know, at times because there's a lot of parties here. So there's-- Texas and Oklahoma is one party.

There is the legacy big 12 eight members. There's another party. There's Fox, TV, another party.

And then there's ESPN, another party. So these four parties all have something that they want, and there's an issue with compromising. The thing is is that Texas and Oklahoma and the Big 12 legacy members have agreed. They've kind of agreed.

And really, this is kind of old news. A couple of months ago, they've kind of-- they kind of came to an agreement to separate. They agreed they needed to separate. They needed to go their different ways a year before they were supposed to.

So they're supposed to get in the SEC, Texas and Oklahoma, in July 2025. But now the goal is to-- they agreed basically to get in a year early in July 2024, and everybody go their separate ways. The problem is the other two parties in this agreement, which is Fox and ESPN, which, as we know, there's a serious rivalry there.

These two TV networks are kind of in a game of world domination when it comes to college football and all kind of all sports territory, broadcasting territory, and broadcasting talent. So, those two networks have to also be on board with this agreement because Texas and Oklahoma would be violating-- if they leave early would be violating and leaving one year early of the TV contract which Fox and ESPN are partners. So it's kind of zeroed down to those networks working out an issue, in the big issue is that when Oklahoma and Texas, if they were to leave early, Fox would miss all the games in the broadcasting rights, would no longer get the broadcasting rights for Texas and Oklahoma for the 2024 season.

And it's been suggested to me that Fox picks about four times, picks each team three to four times. So in between six and eight games, they would miss six and eight games, somewhere around there, of the 2024 season. They want money for that, or they want other inventory created in other games.

So that's what's going on right now. I don't think anything is dead. I don't think there's any kind of deadline. There was a deadline for the Big 12 to release its conference schedule, which it did. It was February 1.

That was like a network, I think, deadline. A lot of people thought that was also the deadline for this deal to get done. I don't think it was.

I think it was a soft deadline maybe. But we know how deadlines in college sports work. We saw the CFP and the CFP expansion have like 10 deadlines, and they blew through every one of them and finally got it done at the end. This is where it looks like that is going to happen here too. They're going to push, push, as negotiations do, down to the wire, down to the last actual minute, which could be weeks away.

PAT FORDE: It's ongoing. It is not dead. Ongoing. Do you have any idea what it would take to break the impasse?

ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah. So, I think-- well, I think Texas and Oklahoma have mostly agreed, along with the Big 12 legacy members, agreed on some kind of exit penalty fee. Whether that's $30 million or $60 million, I don't really know.

If you do the math and different things for leaving a year early, you might come up with a really big number, like $125 million. But I think that's going to be negotiated down. The separate part of this-- Fox's inventory. How do you give Fox inventory or money for those six to eight games involving Texas and Oklahoma that they're losing?

Well, the easy answer is they just play non-conference games against big 12 teams at Big 12 school at their campuses, and Fox would get the ownership, broadcasting rights, of those games, right? So, that's one way to do it. The problem with that is changing future schedules, paying buyouts. A lot of non-conference games are already scheduled years out because that's what they do in college sports for some weird reason.

And so there's paying all these buyouts. There's rescheduling your whole calendar and rescheduling games. And then you got to get-- Texas and Oklahoma would want to return-- want those games to return to their place at some point down the line, maybe in 10 years, maybe in 15 years. But they would want a home and home.

So then there's that part of it. So, the latest negotiation thing that I'd heard is what was kind of put on the table involved Texas' non-conference, already scheduled non-conference games, with Michigan and Ohio State. So, Texas plays Michigan and Ohio State the next four years or starting in '24.

So they host Michigan in '24. They play at Ohio State in '25, host Ohio State in '26, return the Michigan game in '27. So, those games were on the table as potential inventory that Fox could have.

And I don't know what happened, but in the last negotiation session, whatever was proposed around those Michigan, Ohio State, Texas games, it wasn't agreed to. Something fell through there, and it was just another snag. But again, as somebody mentioned to me who is years-- has spent years on these negotiations, they hit snags. Everybody walks away, and they almost always come back.

DAN WETZEL: They could trade Joe Buck back. Something like that.

ROSS DELLENGER: You know, it's funny. It's funny that-- several people have mentioned that's-- like, they compared that. Like, it would basically be something similar to that. Like, giving Fox, you know, Michigan verse Texas would be like--

DAN WETZEL: What was the game? It was Purdue? Purdue--

ROSS DELLENGER: Purdue-Michigan, Purdue-Michigan, wasn't it?


PAT FORDE: Purdue-Penn State.

PAT FORDE: Purdue-Penn State.

ROSS DELLENGER: Was it Purdue-Penn State? OK.

DAN WETZEL: For Joe Buck. That was the trade. The Joe Buck Memorial game.

And they did not create a thing. Yeah, these TV deals are insane. I mean, that's wild.

All of that is absolutely wild. All of a sudden, Texas got to play all these-- and they kind of-- like, they brought out that schedule. Like, imagine next eight years, I got one more trip out to Kansas State. Got to pay off our debt. [INAUDIBLE]