The SEC move for the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns is on the horizon. Just how far off in the distance, though, remains unclear. Reports have the two universities making the switch for the 2024 football season, but Brett Yormark has indicated Oklahoma and Texas are in the Big 12 for the long haul (or at least the length of the current league contract).
Still, there’s some uncertainty.
It seemed like a schedule was on its way last week when Terry Mohajir, the athletic director for UCF, replied to a direct question on Twitter about the 2023 slate.
He’d later go back and retract that, citing “new information.”
According to Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman, the conference is required by its broadcast partners to release the schedule by mid-February.
So, why the delay? Well, Carlson wrote a fantastic piece over at The Oklahoman exploring the why and positing that it’s a bad look for the Big 12 to appear this disjointed with its schedule release.
Could it simply be a miscommunication or a crossing of wires? UCF’s athletic director believed we were going to get a schedule last Tuesday. At the same time, Shehan Jeyarajah of CBS Sports reported after Mohajir’s snafu that the release likely wouldn’t come until the end of the month.
One interesting facet of this is how Oklahoma and Texas’ departure to the SEC could be playing a factor in the delay.
I understand this schedule release is a first go around for Yormark and Co., and clearly, it isn’t like most years. There are, as Mohajir wrote, lots of moving parts. According to the Big 12 school source, there is no haggling over the structure of the schedule, who plays where and when and that sort of thing. Instead, the delay is based on concerns within the league that the schedule release could provide leverage for the Sooners and Horns in their buyout plans. What that leverage would be is unclear. – Carlson, The Oklahoman
While Carlson doesn’t assume what the leverage is that Oklahoma and Texas hold over the Big 12, the most likely scenario revolves around who gets to host the Sooners and Longhorns in their final year in the conference. If indeed 2024 is the final year in the Big 12.
We attempted to outline what a 2023 and 2024 football schedule could look like giving each school in the new Big 12 an opportunity to host either Oklahoma or Texas once. But that’s null and void if the Sooners and Longhorns depart earlier. How to have profit equity from hosting the departing schools becomes an important part of the discussion if 2023 is their final year in the conference.
Every team in the conference wants to host one or both of those schools. Their presence creates a national and local buzz the other schools can’t match. Splitting what would be 10 opportunities to host either Texas or Oklahoma amongst the remaining 12 schools could certainly create some interesting discussion at the negotiating table.
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