Oklahoma and Texas are set to leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference after the 2024-25 athletic year, but that’s not stopping many from believing it could be sooner.
The latest came on Paul Finebaum’s show on Monday as he had Matt Hayes on the program. Hayes, a former college football writer for The Sporting News and CBSSports.com, now hosts XL Primetime from 12-3 p.m. daily on 1010 AM in Jacksonville, Florida, and continues to write for Stadium and Saturday Down South.
Finebaum asked Hayes the obvious — would Oklahoma and Texas leave the Big 12 sooner. Hayes’ response?
“The expectation is next year,” Hayes told Finebaum.
This isn’t the first time Hayes has reported that the SEC expects the two programs to join the league sooner. In an SDS piece published a month ago, Hayes cited SEC sources that ‘the expectation’ was the Sooners and Longhorns would join next fall. So Hayes has been consistent that it could happen sooner.
The Longhorns and Sooners have also been consistent that they intend to remain in the Big 12 until the grant of media rights expires, which is after the 2024-25 athletic year. Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte said as much at the end of July.
Now, there ARE ways for the Longhorns and Sooners to get out of the Big 12 sooner, and it involves a buyout of a reported $75 million per team. Theoretically, the Big 12’s two richest programs would have the funds to handle that.
Oklahoma and Texas may be waiting to see what the Pac-12 does, as well. The conference announced last week that they hope to have a decision on expansion in the next couple of weeks. That decision could influence other Big 12 members and could lead to an all-out exodus by league members that could make it easier to re-negotiate the grant of media rights that was designed to keep the league together when it nearly disintegrated in 2011.
But, if Hayes is right, the end of the Big 12, at least with Oklahoma and Texas, could come after this season.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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