Texas and Oklahoma are reportedly eyeing a move out of the Big 12 and over to the Southeastern Conference.
In what could set off another round of massive realignment talks, Oklahoma and Texas are reportedly in contact with the SEC about leaving the Big 12 according to a report from the Houston Chronicle.
The year 2011 was one of tumultuous change in the college athletics landscape, and the Big 12 in particular. Missouri and Texas A&M left for the SEC. Nebraska bolted for the Big 10. Colorado left for the Pac-12. The conference flirted with many other schools, Louisville, Utah, Memphis, Houston, Rice, and countless others if you believed every rumor.
If there is any argument today about the strongest, most profitable, most competitive conference in college athletics, adding Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC would pretty much end the conversation.
This time around, the Big 12 can’t survive another realignment dance, especially if Oklahoma and Texas take their teams to the SEC.
The number of eyeballs and sponsorship dollars it would add might allow an expanded SEC to compete with any sport in the country when it comes to TV and streaming dollars.
No one likely disagrees with that. But what happens to Kansas, Kansas St., and all the other Big 12 schools?
If you take yourself back 10 years, you’ll remember the basic arguments. Kansas and Kansas St. – like Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. – are apparently joined at the hip. Take both or get neither.
Obviously, this new report doesn’t mention that arrangement so that’s the first hurdle OU may have to navigate if it wants to leave.
KU and K-State are a different discussion. KU has great basketball but fields perhaps the worst P5 football team in the country. That’s a problem with football being the bell cow of conference revenue.
KSU is currently middling at both, but good enough to hold their own in almost any conference. They can win games and be a valuable member on the gridiron and the hardwood.
The issue both schools fight is eyeballs. Kansas simply doesn’t have a big market outside of Kansas City. The value they bring to the table is dwarfed in comparison to Texas or OU. And if the Big 12 loses the Texas and Oklahoma markets, it will likely be game over for the rest of the conference.
It’s much too early to speculate who might go where and what the timeline looks like, but a “Texodus” (did I just coin that term?) with OU joining in could send reverberations throughout college athletics for years to come.