Oklahoma and Texas didn’t mention the SEC when they notifed the Big 12 on Monday they are leaving, according to a story at ESPN.
Now it’s up to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey for the next move after he consults with the likely several committees he’s using on all of this.
And sportswriters like Tom Murphy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette aren’t particularly enamored with it.
“I didn’t think adding A&M and Missouri was good for Arkansas and the results have born that out, in football at least,” he said on The Morning Rush with Tye Richardson and Tommy Craft on Monday morning.
“It makes recruiting in Texas and Oklahoma much more competitive.”
Well, it has been like that for the last 60 years. The Hogs traditionally haven’t gotten very many players over the years in thos two states A&M, Texas and Oklahoma wanted … regardless of the SEC.
Sam Pittman is taking more of a national approach in recruiting and not focused on Texas. With 300 Division I players coming out every year, Arkansas will get about what they’ve been getting there.
“Providing notice to the Big 12 at this point is important in advance of the expiration of the conference’s current media rights agreement,” the statement said. “The universities intend to honor their existing grant of rights agreements. However, both universities will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving collegiate athletics landscape as they consider how best to position their athletics programs for the future.”
There is a mile of wiggle room in there for everybody. It’s a game of high stakes wheeling and dealing in the background with television networks and, reportedly, other schools reaching out to the SEC wanting to get in.
Big 12 sources told ESPN on Monday that the statement doesn’t fully guarantee that UT and OU would remain in the league through 2025. The possibility remains that they pay the $75-80 million penalty for leaving early, while also giving the required 18 months’ notice, per Big 12 bylaws.
Some have speculated that this is the first legal maneuver, and the possibility also exists that if the Big 12 dissolves before 2025, OU and Texas would no longer be bound to stay through the duration of the contract.
SEC athletic directors are scheduled for their weekly call at 12:30 p.m. ET on Monday — a call that had been rescheduled because of the league media days.
The Big 12 executive committee met with the presidents of Texas and Oklahoma on Sunday, and sources have told ESPN they are still trying to understand exactly what Oklahoma and Texas are looking for. The question is whether the SEC would extend an invitation knowing the legal strategy of Texas and Oklahoma is to stay through the duration of the TV contract — which is what the statement indicated the teams plan to honor.
An SEC official told ESPN this week that the league’s current scheduling format would have to be revamped with the addition of Oklahoma and Texas. Some sort of “pod” system would likely replace the current East and West divisions, and the league would likely play more than eight conference games each season in the future.
Get ready because the news is going to be coming fast and furious … and not slowing down.