By Arnie Leshin
Have Oklahoma and Texas’ storied football programs taken the first formal steps towards leaving the Big 12 and inserting themselves into the already strong Southeastern Conference?
There have already been subtitle hints from the only schools to win college football national championships during the Big 12’s 27-year history. On Monday, they both notified the conference they would not be renewing an agreement that binds its members though 2025.
In a joint statement, the two rivals made no mention of the SEC, and said, “The universities intend to honor their existing grant of rights agreements.”
Also added was that both universities will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving collegiate athletics landscape as they consider how best to position their own athletic problems in the future.
On the other hand, both Oklahoma and Texas have been in discussions with the SEC about joining its league, though neither school nor the already powerhouse conference has acknowledged that publicly.
The remaining eight members of the Big 12 football programs — Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Texas Christian, Texas Tech and West Virginia — are disappointed with the decisions of these two institutions, and have been hoping to persuade the conference’s two flagship schools to say put.
Said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby: “Although our eight members are not happy with the decision of these two institutions, we recognize that intercollegiate is experiencing rapid change and will most likely look much different in 2025 than it does concurrently.”
He added that he acknowledged the future of the league will not include the Sooners or the Longhorns. Oh my, Texas versus Oklahoma in the Red River rivalry at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State meeting home and away in the Big Bedlam. Oh my, twice.