OU, Texas take first official step toward leaving Big 12, will not renew media contract in 2025

The University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas released a joint statement Monday that’s seen as the schools’ first official step toward leaving the Big 12 Conference and joining the Southeastern Conference.

The schools say they will not renew their grants of media rights following their expiration in 2025, although it’s expected that the two schools will actually leave the conference well before then. The two schools have been in contact with the SEC about joining that conference for at least six months, according to multiple reports.

“The University of Oklahoma and The University of Texas at Austin notified the Big 12 Athletic Conference today that they will not be renewing their grants of media rights following expiration in 2025. Providing notice to the Big 12 at this point is important in advance of the expiration of the conference’s current media rights agreement. The universities intend to honor their existing grant of rights agreements. However, both universities will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving collegiate athletics landscape as they consider how best to position their athletics programs for the future.”

—  Joint Statement from the University of Oklahoma and University of Texas

The rest of the Big 12 is understandably upset about the possibility of the Sooners and Longhorns leaving the conference. New Oklahoma State University President Dr. Kayse Shrum didn’t pull any punches in her strongly-worded statement released Monday.

“Earlier today, OU delivered a document to the Big 12 Conference office which indicated they will not renew their grant of media rights with the Big 12 following the 2024-25 season. This action was strategic, deliberate and results from months of planning with the SEC. These conversations, which developed over a long period, are a clear breach of the Big 12 Conference bylaws and broke the decades-long bond of trust between our universities. It is difficult to understand how an Oklahoma institution of higher education would follow the University of Texas to the detriment of the state of Oklahoma.

Nevertheless, we are looking to the future and what is best for Oklahoma State University. Over the last few days, I have received countless phone calls, texts and emails from high-ranking officials and members of the Cowboy family showing their support for OSU as we navigate the road ahead. Regardless of what comes next, OSU is dedicated to the state of Oklahoma. We remain confident OSU is in the strongest position ever, and I am excited about the future of Oklahoma State University, our land-grant mission, world-class faculty and top-notch athletic programs.”

—  Oklahoma State University President Dr. Kayse Shrum

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby also released a statement Monday.

“Although our eight members are disappointed with the decisions of these two institutions, we recognize that intercollegiate athletics is experiencing rapid change and will most likely look much different in 2025 than it does currently,” stated Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “The Big 12 Conference will continue to support our member institutions’ efforts to graduate student-athletes, and compete for Big 12 and NCAA championships. Like many others, we will use the next four years to fully assess what the landscape will look like in 2025 and beyond. The remaining eight institutions will work together in a collaborative manner to thoughtfully and strategically position the Big 12 Conference for continued success, both athletically and academically, long into the future.”

—  Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby