Texas and Oklahoma ushered in the latest phase of college football’s realignment with their bombshell announcement of joining the SEC.
That move is technically scheduled ahead of the 2025 football season, but could the two powerhouses leave the Big 12 before then?
ESPN college football insider Heather Dinich noted that anything seems possible in the current environment, but that the economy could prevent an early exit.
Departure date from Texas and Oklahoma
“New Commissioner Brett Yormark told reporters he was open to negotiations,” Dinich said on ESPN. “He said when it comes down to it the best thing he wants to do is be in the best interests of the Big 12. So we’ll see where that stands.”
Texas and Oklahoma would have to spend serious money if they want to attend college football’s premier conference before 2025.
“They have to pay $80 million per dropout if they leave school early,” she said.
“And the official word from the SEC and the Big 12 is that it will happen on July 1, 2025.
“If it happens early, 2024 seems like the most realistic timeline given the current TV deals in place. To do that, some serious legal clarifications would have to take place.”
Timeline for college football’s realignment
Texas and Oklahoma’s decision to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC set off a domino effect the next year that’s still happening.
The first major step that came in response came from within the Big 12 itself, which added four new member schools: independent BYU and AAC members Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF.
Those schools are slated to join the Big 12 in time for the 2023 football season, meaning they’ll likely face Oklahoma and Texas for at least a season, if not two.
But the most surprising move came on June 30, when the Big Ten announced they were accepting membership from USC and UCLA, bringing two high-profile programs from Los Angeles to the Midwestern league, and changing the face of college football forever .
For now, the rebalancing process seems to have paused, but not without a few unanswered questions.
Reports still claim that Oregon and Washington could be in the game, while ACC members Clemson, Florida State and Miami may consider a move to the SEC if they can find a way out of their ironclad media rights deal with their own league.
Also, rumors still abound that the Big 12 and Pac-12 could merge into their own superconference arrangement.
And folks within the Big Ten are all open to the fact that this conference wants to add Notre Dame, which has maintained its footballing independence from the start.
But who could be lured into a league – if the price is right.
Nobody knows where all this ends.
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