Texas and Oklahoma will not have to forfeit as much money as initially expected for leaving the Big 12 conference a year early, according to a report by USA Today. The report reveals that the Big 12 opted for a more amicable split, resulting in a reduction of revenue distribution for the two schools.
The Big 12 had originally stated that Oklahoma and Texas would forfeit a combined $100 million in revenue distribution when it was announced in February that they were leaving the conference to join the SEC in 2024. However, the USA Today report indicates that more than $80 million of that amount is based on money the schools will not receive in the year after the move.
The remaining amount is attributed to cuts in full revenue shares for the 2023-24 season, which will be used to finance payments promised to four schools that recently joined the conference. This includes BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston.
Contrary to the Big 12’s bylaws, Oklahoma and Texas have not had any money withheld by the conference and will continue to receive their shares of conference revenue in the upcoming season. However, their shares will be reduced by approximately $7 million per school compared to what they received in the previous season. This reduction is intended to fund payments of $18 million each to the new members of the conference.
While Oklahoma and Texas will not receive money from the SEC’s primary revenue sharing pool in 2024-25, they are expected to collect millions through football- and men’s-basketball-specific distributions that already existed under the SEC’s bylaws. The schools may also receive additional money through specially negotiated terms and “transition” payments funded by ESPN.
In addition to these financial arrangements, the Big 12 paid Colorado a $2.5 million “signing bonus” in July when the school agreed to join the conference in 2024.
The report highlights the influence of television networks on conference realignment, with ESPN playing a significant role in facilitating the moves of Texas and Oklahoma. The network’s investment in the SEC’s TV rights, as well as the Big 12’s TV rights, has contributed to the stability and expansion of the conference.
The SEC is also a winner in this situation, as it gets to add two of the biggest brand names in college football a year earlier than anticipated, without having to revenue share with Texas and Oklahoma in 2024-25. ESPN’s involvement in easing the transition for the two schools further benefits the SEC.
ESPN stated that after Texas and Oklahoma made the decision to change conferences, all parties, including the Big 12 and SEC, chose to accelerate the process and reach a resolution that would satisfy everyone involved.
Brett Yormark, the commissioner of the Big 12, expressed his satisfaction with the outcome, stating that all parties reached an equitable and amicable decision. He emphasized that the withdrawal from a conference typically results in a negotiated settlement, and he believes that the Big 12 has landed in a good place.
Overall, this report sheds light on the financial implications of Texas and Oklahoma’s departure from the Big 12 and their early move to the SEC. It also underscores the role of television networks in shaping conference realignment and the benefits for both the Big 12 and SEC in this particular situation.