The planned withdrawal of Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 Conference won’t be an easy one.
Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported the Big 12 plans to make the departure of Oklahoma and Texas for the Southeastern Conferences “as difficult as possible” by invoking the “’disinterested directors’ clause in its bylaws.”
The other eight Big 12 schools, including Kansas and K-State, would be considered the “disinterested directors,” because they have no personal interest in seeing Texas or Oklahoma leave the conference.
The CBS story notes Big 12 bylaws say if even one of its schools remains in the conference, it can sue any group viewed as aiding the departure of other members. That includes the SEC (which is likely to add Texas and Oklahoma), the American Athletic Conference (which reportedly has eyes on Big 12 schools) or ESPN (which Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby says is actively trying to break up the conference).
“After losing four teams in the last round of conference realignment a decade ago, those bylaws were drafted in 2012 to stand for a period of 99 years,” Dodd wrote. “Texas and Oklahoma were part of the group who, according to one source, wanted the longest agreement possible.
“That last round of realignment led to the Big 12 registering itself as a corporation in the state of Delaware. That helps prevent (any) case from being heard in Texas where the University of Texas might have a legal advantage.”
Earlier this week, Oklahoma and Texas informed the Big 12 they won’t renew their grant of rights of media with the conference past 2025. Bowlsby told CBS that the Big 12 intends to make Texas and Oklahoma honor that grant of rights though 2025.
However, if the Big 12 fell apart before then because, say, some schools went to the AAC, that would open the door for Oklahoma and Texas to join the SEC early.
“Oklahoma and Texas are going to do everything they can to get out of the grant of rights and get out of the bylaw stipulations,” Bowlsby said. “It’s going to be a long process.”