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Oklahoma and Texas will remain in Big 12 through 2025, Big 12 commissioner says

July 13, 2022 video. Bob Bowlsby will be succeeded by Brett Yormack, who officially takes over on August 1. Video courtesy / Big 12


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Oklahoma and Texas will remain in the Big 12 Conference through the remainder of the league’s current grant of rights before departing for the SEC in 2025, Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark said Tuesday afternoon.

“They’re going to be here through ’25,” Yormark told reporters at Big 12 Basketball Tipoff inside Kansas City’s T-Mobile Center. “They’ve committed themselves in advance of me getting here and they’ve reiterated that commitment. So they’ll be here through the duration (of the grant of rights). And my relationship with both Texas and Oklahoma is very, very strong. And they are full members and we’re looking forward to working with them. “

Yormark’s latest comments on the future of the conference and the impending exits of OU and Texas come in a moment of continual Big 12 churn.

Last week, representatives from both OU and Texas were present for league meetings in Dallas with the remaining Big 12 schools and incoming conference additions BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF. Among the topics settled, per multiple reports, was the adoption of a temporary scheduling format for the 2023 and 2024 football seasons, reflecting an expectation that the pair of departing schools will remain in Big 12 after the four future schools arrive in 2023.

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On Tuesday, Yormark confirmed the format will not include divisions and will preserve long-standing rivalry games such as the Bedlam series between OU and Oklahoma State. The Big 12 intends to adopt similar formats for the men’s and women’s basketball schedules during those seasons, allowing every school to meet at least once over the two-year period.

Yormark’s assertion around an exit date for OU and Texas also arrives as the the Big 12 has held continued talks over a new media rights deal with broadcast partners Fox and ESPN.

The former Brooklyn Nets and Roc Nation executive expressed confidence on Tuesday that the league could reach an agreement on a new deal before the exclusive negotiating window opens in February 2024.

“My gut tells me we something done before then,” Yormark said. “Very optimistic.”

Regardless of when OU and Texas leave for the SEC, both schools will be required to pay an agreed-upon exit fee of $ 80 million. Per Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger, the schools would owe the league a “cumulative, estimated price tag of more than $ 100 million” if they leave before the end of the league’s current grant of rights, which expires on June 30, 2025.

As things stand, Yormark said, the Big 12 is proceeding with the expectation that OU and Texas will not attempt to negotiate an early exit.

“My conversations with Oklahoma and Texas have always been about being great members until they leave, which is in ’25,” Yormark said. “And the experience has been very positive so far.”

Yormark said at Big 12 Media Days in July that he was “not against” engaging in early negotiations with the pair of departing schools, but noted that he would step into those conversations with particular stipulations.

“I’m sure there’s going to be a moment in time where we’re going to sit down, discuss the future,” he said on July 13. “But any situation like this, I always look for a win-win scenario. That being said, it’s important that whatever happens is in the best interest of this conference. “

Yormark formally replaced longtime Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby on Aug. 1, nearly 12 months to the date from when the SEC announced that OU and Texas would join the conference no later than July 1, 2025.

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