Texas and Oklahoma will be leaving the Big 12 after the 2023 season. The two college programs reached an agreement in February to exit the conference and join the dominant SEC. This creates another chapter in the wake of continuous conference realignment.
The two teams are believed to have been lured by the massive television rights deal in SEC's bag. The conference secured a $3 billion 10-year deal with ESPN in 2020, which will commence in 2024. The Longhorns and the Sooners want in and who could blame them.
Joining the SEC comes with a whole lot of benefits for the two storied programs. The move is expected to boost the annual revenue generated by both, with bigger earnings coming from television rights, gate tickets, as well as other commercial aspects.
Having asserted dominance over college football, winning 12 of the last 16 national championships, the SEC will become more of a powerhouse with the arrival of the two reputable programs. The conference now has the two biggest brands in the Big 12 on its side.
When will Texas and Oklahoma join the SEC?
The Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners will be playing their last season in the Big 12 in 2023. The two teams, therefore, will be competing with the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Auburn from the 2024 season onward.
The two programs had originally intended to join the SEC in 2025. This was after the conference had voted unanimously to absorb them. However, Texas and Oklahoma agreed to pay the Big 12 a total of $100 million to join the SEC a year earlier.
Although the fee might appear huge for the early exit, both schools are anticipated to partially mitigate the expense through future revenues. The Big 12 has referred to the payment made by the two teams as foregone distributable revenues.
The Big 12 has always maintained an early exit will only be allowed on its own terms. The conference commissioner, Brett Yormark, noted that it was advantageous to the league for the two programs to leave prior to 2025. He stated that:
"As I have consistently stated, the conference would only agree to an early withdrawal if it was in our best interest for Oklahoma and Texas to depart prior to June 30, 2025. By reaching this agreement, we are now able to accelerate our new beginning as a 12-team league and move forward in earnest with our initiatives and future planning."
The Big 12 now faces a future without its two biggest programs, which could impact its revenue as well as competitive reputation. On the other hand, Texas and Oklahoma are advancing towards a future that looks brighter as they align with the SEC.