FOX reportedly holding Texas football, OU from leaving the Big 12 early

Joel Klatt, Steve Sarkisian, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Joel Klatt, Steve Sarkisian, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

There were some indications earlier this year that Texas football and the Oklahoma Sooners might actually be able to officially exit the Big 12 early to join the SEC for athletic competition. But those signs pointing to Texas and Oklahoma leaving for the SEC before 2025 might be moot at the moment.

The original timeline for the Longhorns and Sooners to exit the Big 12 for the SEC was after the current media rights contract ran up in 2025. The re-negotiation of the Big 12’s media rights deal with FOX and ESPN earlier this year looked like there could be something that worked out to let the Longhorns and Sooners out in 2023 or 2024.

However, according to a report from Dennis Dodd and Chip Patterson of CBS Sports on Oct. 14, FOX probably would’ve “demanded” that Texas and Oklahoma return to the conference through the end of the current media rights contract upon these earlier negotiations this year.

It sounds like if Texas and Oklahoma were able to find a way out of the Big 12 before 2025 by way of an ESPN negotiation, FOX would’ve held up the move to get “top tier” games on the schedule in the conference for as long as possible.

FOX could reportedly make the cost even greater for Texas football and OU to leave the Big 12 for the SEC early

Here’s more on what this report from Dodd and Patterson of CBS Sports had to say on this matter.

"Though there was a belief that Texas and Oklahoma may have been attempting to exit the Big 12 one year early in 2024, sources told Dodd that Fox would likely have demanded a return to make its future programming whole, including a top-tier selection of games years into the future given the marquee programs would have left its airwaves early."

This news might put the Longhorns and Sooners back on a timeline to stay in the Big 12 through 2025, despite previous inclinations that the 2023 season might be the last for these two in the conference.

Yet, the possibility still exists of Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 for the SEC early. It just would cost even more than just the lofty exit fee for leaving the Big 12 before the current media rights deal ends.

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The news of the move for Texas and Oklahoma to leave the Big 12 for the SEC originally came about last summer. That sparked further conference realignment conversations this summer, including the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins leaving the PAC-12 for the Big Ten in 2024.