Orangebloods – UT & OU to SEC early? 12 new big developments can make it happen

Announcing the Big 12 to open its media rights negotiations early may be just the ticket for Texas and the OU to move to the SEC before 2025.

Announcing the Big 12 to open its media rights negotiations early may be just the ticket for Texas and the OU to move to the SEC before 2025.

Texas and OU signed their media rights to the Big 12 in order for the conference to negotiate a television deal. The Grant of Rights does not expire until June 30, 2025. This is why both UT and OU have publicly stated that they will transition to the SEC in 2025.

However, the Rights Grant Agreement has a provision that states:

5. Amending broadcast rights agreements. The Board shall, after consulting with each of the Member Institutions, approve any modification, modification, extension, renewal or replacement of any Broadcasting Rights Agreement in accordance with the Conference Regulations (“Bylaws”); Provided that the Conference shall not make any modification, modification, extension, renewal or replacement of any Telecast Rights Agreement that grants rights to any Telecast Partner more favorable to the Telecast Partner, or impose obligations or conditions on any Member Organization that are more restrictive to such Member Organization, than those set forth in the Agreements Broadcasting rights as in effect on the Effective Date (as defined below) without the prior written consent of all member institutions that become members of the conference.

In other words, if you read this correctly (and I’m a journalist, not a lawyer), Big 12 cannot implement a new media rights deal without the consent of all the members.

It is important to note that even if the granting of rights to the Big 12 has expired, there is still an exit fee to leave the Big 12. This may be the leverage that UT and OU need in order to pay a reduced exit fee or have it all waived.

Dennis Dodds, a college football player who writes for CBS Sports, says there are active negotiations to allow the UT and OU to leave the Big 12 early.

“It’s definitely part of this puzzle, this separation between OU and Texas,” said a source familiar with the discussions. “These conversations are definitely happening and make progress within everyone’s reach.”

What does BIG 12 contain?

The Big 12 doesn’t take that step, and they potentially lose money from UT and OU if there’s nothing for them.

Ed Desser, media rights advisor and former president of NBA TV, says the Big 12’s decision to strike a new deal early makes sense, even if it means losing UT and OU early. The move will allow the Big 12 to cement its position within the college football scene, while also being able to leverage ESPN for more cash.

“I think you have a bunch of schools that say, ‘We need to plan ahead,’” Deisser said. “College sports prices have been reset and ESPN hasn’t got any of the top 10. So now, if you’re ESPN, you have to get one of the two conferences.” the remaining two, or both.

In addition to stabilizing the Big 12, the media deal could pave the way for future expansion.

“You have a hugely changing pool of schools for the Big 12, you want an accurate read of what the market will carry,” said Lee Burke, a media rights advisor who works on a variety of NFL, MLB and college teams, including the OU. “If the Big 12 were to take any steps in terms of adding any schools, he would get an accurate reading of how they affected their overall media deals.”

The Pac-12 is also negotiating with ESPN for a new media rights deal and now both conferences will compete head-to-head to see which one is more valuable in the college football scene.

“The reality is you have to have TV and you have to have the revenue to attract schools and you need certainty to do that,” Burke said. “I think this provides Big 12 with certainty and information about what they will be offering both their existing members and potential new members.”

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said the conference was “open for business” during his speech at Big 12 Media Days.

It is rumored that Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah—the Four Corners schools—are likely candidates for the 12th Grand Extension.

In an ideal world, these schools would most likely choose to remain in their current conference, even without USC and UCLA. But college football isn’t a perfect world anymore.

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren told Bryant Gumble on HBO’s Real Sports that he could see his conference expand from 16 members to 20. The most visible candidates, outside of Notre Dame, are the Pac-12 schools left behind. Oregon, Washington, Stanford, and Cal make sense both for soccer and as travel partner schools for Olympic sports.

If you were the president of one of the Four Corners Schools, it would be negligent not to at least explore options beyond the Pac-12 should your current convention collapse.

Nobody wants to be Oregon in the conference reorganization game.

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