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Texas and Oklahoma reach agreement to leave Big 12 for SEC a year early

The conference announced an agreement in principle for the two schools to depart after the 2023-24 athletic year.

NCAA Football: Northwestern State at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Following two months of conflicting reports surrounding whether the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners could negotiate an early departure from the Big 12 for the SEC with the conference and television partners, Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormack and the conference announced an agreement in principle for the two schools to depart the conference following the 2023-24 athletic year, a year earlier than originally planned.

The governing boards of both schools still need to officially approve the move, which includes $100 million in compensation for the conference in revenues foregone by the departures that the schools will offset through future revenues.

The agreement ends a year and half of uncertainty surrounding when the schools would actually leave the Big 12 and comes less than a week after negotiations reportedly broke down between the parties involved.

“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 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,” said 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 parties will continue to finalize details surrounding the early departures.