After a report came out that Oklahoma and Texas were planning on moving to the SEC in 2024, ESPN Chairman James Pitaro said that the two schools will remain where they are until 2025.
ESPN owns the SEC Network, and their new deal begins in 2024. While OU and Texas remaining in the Big 12 until 2025 takes care of the exit fee issue, that just feels like too long of a wait if the schools feel they’re ready for SEC athletics.
The Sooners’ current media rights deal won’t expire until after the 2024 season. Contractually, they’ll be in the Big 12 for at least two more years. But contracts can be renegotiated.
Obviously, the man who works for ESPN knows better than I do about what is actually going on, but I’ve been saying this since the SEC move was announced: there’s no way OU and Texas remain in the Big 12 until 2025.
What else is an ESPN executive going to say about a move that will benefit his network? He can’t come out and say that the two schools are moving early when a buyout hasn’t been negotiated to this point.
In the interim, Brent Venables gets time to prepare the Oklahoma Football program for the move to the SEC to tangle with the likes of Alabama and Georgia on a regular basis.
As for the other sports, look around. They’re ready.
Baseball is about to play for a national championship. Softball just won another national championship. Women’s Gymnastics just won a national championship. The list goes on.
The ESPN-SEC deal beginning in 2024 just seems all to convenient to me. The way Oklahoma has been spending money lately, the move has to be coming soon.
A 14-team Big 12 does seem like fun for a season or two if Pitaro is correct and the Sooners and Longhorns stay in the Big 12 until 2025.
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