The Big 12 Conference held a meeting on Thursday night. This came just over 24 hours after a bombshell report from the Houston Chronicle that the Oklahoma and Texas were nearing a deal to leave the Big 12 to join the SEC. It has been reported that OU and Texas did not show up for the meeting. But it was still a productive one and we learned some of what took place in the meeting between athletic directors and CEO’s.
After the Big 12 meeting took place, a statement of notes was released by the conference that read as follows:
- Oklahoma and Texas are founding members of the Big 12 and we value their traditions and history of success.
- The eight members strongly desire to retain the current composition, which has proven it can compete at the highest levels.
- There is a recognition that institutions may act in their own self-interest, however there is an expectation that members adhere to Conference bylaws and the enforcement of Grant of Rights agreements.
- This is a time of dramatic change within intercollegiate athletics that presents both opportunities and challenges, and the Big 12 Conference looks forward to continuing to play a major role in its evolution.
At least for now, the remaining eight Big 12 teams appear to be on the same page about “retaining the current composition”. That is a very good sign for the Big 12 for those of us who want the conference to continue to exist. And it is absolutely accurate that the conference has more than proven it can, and does, compete at the highest levels of college athletics.
Also, it looks like the Big 12 won’t just let Texas and Oklahoma walk away whenever they want. As is noted in the statement,” there is an expectation that members adhere to Conference bylaws and the enforcement of Grant of Rights agreements.” The Big 12’s TV deal with ESPN and FOX runs through 2025, but as we have noted, the TV networks turned down the Big 12 this spring when they reached out about extending the deal.
So needless to say, there is still an enormous amount that needs to play out. But if you don’t want to see the Big 12 dissipate, then you have to come away with this Big 12 statement as the first positive sign we’ve gotten since this news broke on Wednesday afternoon.