College Sports Is Just Business Nothing More

Texas and Oklahoma are looking for a better deal.

Two institutes of higher education, the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma are apparently ready to leave college sports’ Big 12 Conference and move their athletic programs to the Southeastern Conference in a money move. The possible shift of the two schools could be complicated or hastened by television. ESPN or FOX could make the move happen or block it. The Big 12 will also want money from the two schools should they choose to leave now. There could be opposition from SEC members Texas A&M and Missouri.

The move could set off another round of conference realignments. The Big 12 was founded in 1994 because of conference realignments. The eight member schools of the Southwest Conference, the University of Nebraska, Iowa State University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, the University of Missouri, the University of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State University signed deals with Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, and Texas Tech to form the conference. Nebraska left the Big 12 Conference for the Big Ten Conference in 2011. Colorado moved to the Pac-10 in 2012. Texas A&M left for the SEC in 2011 and was replaced by Texas Christian University. In 2011, Missouri bolted to the SEC and in 2012 was replaced by West Virginia which gave the Big East $20 million as a parting gift for leaving that conference. The present Big 12 has 10 schools and if Texas and Oklahoma exit, an eight-school conference might not be viable economically for television executives. The eight schools could find replacements for Texas and Oklahoma but it will be difficult to locate any available school with the football marquee value Oklahoma and Texas offer. The eight schools could head to different conferences. College sports is a business.

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Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) throws against Iowa State during the first half of the Big 12 Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)