OU, Texas to join SEC in '25 as exit talks stall, sources say

February 3, 2023, 10:19 AM

The negotiations for Oklahoma and Texas to leave the Big 12 a year early and join the SEC in 2024 have stalled and a deal is not expected to come to fruition, sources told ESPN on Friday morning.

After weeks of negotiations, Texas and Oklahoma are still slated to join the SEC in 2025. Sources said the parties couldn't come to terms amid a complex negotiation involving two schools, two networks (ESPN and Fox) and the Big 12.

Sources said the sides couldn't agree on how to create equitable value for what Fox would lose in 2024 -- the equivalent of seven football games featuring Oklahoma and Texas that command premium advertising.

The negotiations heated up over the past few days, with the Big 12 meetings late this week doubling as an unofficial deadline to get a deal done.

The timeline in play -- the 2024 season -- leaves some ambiguity and small potential for a Hail Mary revival, but the strong expectation remains that Oklahoma and Texas will play in the 14-team Big 12 in 2023 and 2024.

"There's no formal timeline or brink from which you can't come back," an industry source said. "But this is where things are right now -- a deal is unlikely."

Ever since Oklahoma and Texas agreed to join the SEC in the summer of 2021, there has been a drumbeat of conversation surrounding whether they would be able to leave the Big 12 early. The schools are contractually committed to play through the 2024 football season, covering four full seasons since the decision to switch conferences. In the recent history of conference realignment, that is an unprecedented amount of time to play out as a departing member.

It was always unlikely that they would leave before that final year of the deal, 2024, as the dynamics of scheduling, the cost of departure and the way the television contracts were structured made any type of quicker move clunky. But with ESPN holding the entire rights to the SEC starting in 2024, the possibility always loomed of brokering a deal a year early.

Instead, Oklahoma and Texas are slated to play out the final seasons of their contracts with the Big 12.