AUSTIN, Texas — The Big 12 is set to make some major changes after the next season, as the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Oklahoma have agreed to terms with the Conference to leave the Big 12 after the 2023-24 season.
Pending final approval from their governing Boards, the two universities will depart the league one year earlier than they had originally announced, when they will be headed to the SEC.
UT and OU's compensation to the Big 12 for their early departures reportedly totals $100 million in "foregone distributable revenues", which they will be able to offset partially through future earnings.
"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," said Commissioner Brett Yormark. "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. I appreciate the approaches of OU President Joe Harroz and UT President Jay Hartzell to ensure an amicable conclusion to this process, and look forward to the bright days ahead for the Big 12 Conference."
"Finding a satisfactory resolution to this matter that is fair to all parties, and best positions the Big 12 moving forward has been a top priority," commented Texas Tech University President and Big 12 Conference Board of Directors Chairman Lawrence Schovanec. "This agreement would not have occurred without the collaboration of the presidents and chancellors of all 10 Big 12 universities, and our tremendous partners at ESPN and FOX. I am very grateful for everyone's efforts to make today's announcement possible."
"We have always been committed to fulfilling our contractual obligations to the Big 12. The collegiate athletics landscape has continued to evolve rapidly, and working together to accelerate our exit produced benefits for all parties," said Jay Hartzell, UT President. "The Big 12 has been a respected partner for nearly three decades, and we look forward to a final season of spirited competition with our friends and rivals. I appreciate Commissioner Yormark's and Chairman Schovanec's thoughtful approach and the collaborative work toward a solution that prioritizes the best interests of all institutions."
"We are grateful to Commissioner Yormark and Chairman Schovanec for their concerted efforts to carve a path forward that allows us all to move ahead with clarity and certainty. With the new era of collegiate athletics fully upon us, an opportunity emerged for all parties involved to explore the value of an early departure. These terms further guarantee the sustainability, stability, competitiveness and excellence of us all," said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. "The exciting matchups and passionate rivalries of the past quarter century will always be a celebrated part of our shared history. We look forward to showcasing that intensity this season, next season and beyond."
The Conference members reportedly worked together to agree on the terms of the departure to find a resolution that provided stability for everyone involved.
The complete details of the agreement will continue to be finalized by all those involved.
On July 1, 2023, the Big 12 will welcome new members BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston to the Conference, and will compete as a 14-team league for the upcoming 2023-24 season.