Well, it’s official. The University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma released a joint statement on Monday announcing that they have provided notice to the Big 12 that the two schools will not be signing any extended Grant of Rights agreement with the Big 12 when the current agreement expires in 2025. Officially, the two schools will remain members of the Big 12 through the end of the current GoR; they have not announced they will attempt to leave early. However, there is always the possibility that could change, and would likely depend on how aggressively ESPN wants to push their deal with the SEC. Really, expect OU and UT to be in the SEC in 2022.
Of course, the other conference administrators weren’t silent, with K-State releasing it’s own statement, and Oklahoma State’s new president going so far as to say OU broke Big 12 rules in this process. Whether or not OU/UT broke any rules, the Other 8 members do now have standing to put OU/UT into “withdrawing” status in the conference and strip them of their voting and conference disbursement rights immediately (Section 3 of the bylaws). This seems like the nuclear option, but it’s possibly a tool that the Other 8 administrators can use to keep some leverage on OU/UT.
Moving forward, expect to hear more chatter about schools looking at the Pac-12, and even possibly the Big Ten. Both conferences are going to feel some pressure to expand, or at least shake things up to stay relevant. And it may not be enough for either to just add teams to get to 16, with the SEC picking up two more of the premier brands in college football (not teams, because UT hasn’t been premier in over a decade), it could create a situation where the Big Ten may move to pick up major schools on the west coast, or even try to entice Texas north instead of east.
It’s very possible that the OU/UT move will create a profound shift in the landscape of college athletics. Maybe the best teams band together in one or two conferences that are essentially an NFL sub-league, with the rest of the teams end up in a more FCS-style system where college football actually matters again. Or maybe the broken system trudges along for another decade, continuing to destroy what made college football great (Athletic, $).
A twist for K-State and KU, they both need Board of Regents approval to negotiate leaving the Big 12, if that’s what they want to do. At this time, neither school has asked for that approval, and that may not come unless the school has received strong confirmation that another conference is serious about adding them. And things are already on the move, but no specifics on if K-State is involved, yet.
Wyatt Hubert will not get a chance to play for the Cincinnati Bengals this season, as K-State’s lone draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft suffered a torn pectoral and will be out the entire season. That is the same injury that Skylar Thompson was rumored to have that sidelined him this past season. Hubert had a real chance at making the Bengals roster, but will now be relegated to rehabbing his injury and will hopefully be ready to go for training camp next year at 110%.