OU and Texas gut the Big 12 and shift to the SEC


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Both teams are moving to the SEC following the 2023-24 season. As a result, this means that Oklahoma State and the University of Oklahoma will play their final series of Bedlam games this upcoming year.

Ryan White, Staff Writer

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football is one of the most debated topics in the sports world to date. Many have come to hate what the league is doing while others see the league’s development as a necessary opportunity for change. One major factor contributing to this entertaining debate is the University of Oklahoma’s (OU) and University of Texas’s (UT) decision to move from the Big 12, which consists of 10 teams, to the Southeastern Conference (SEC), which has 14 teams. Both OU and UT have been in the Big 12 since 1996, making the move even more shocking considering the amount of talent the SEC already has. 

In July of 2021, the SEC invited both programs to join its exclusive group of powerhouse teams considered by many to be the best conference in college football. The SEC includes teams such as Alabama, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida, to name a few. Both schools’ decisions to join the SEC not only brought heat but also much hate. Many fans and teams in the Big 12 were upset and shaken by the two schools’ leaving, so the question must be asked: why did OU and UT agree to join the SEC in the first place? 

There are many answers that explain why teams like OU and UT would join such a giant like the SEC, but the main reason is money. Currently, OU and UT each receive about $34 million per year from the Big 12, but with the new move, the number could grow to around $60 million per year according to Associated Press. On top of that, the SEC just recently signed a ten-year deal with ESPN to allow their games to be streamed exclusively on the sports channel since CBS’ current deal with the SEC expires in 2023. With this new ESPN deal, the SEC is reported to make around $300 million dollars each season according to Consumer News and Business Channel.

Name, image and likeness deals, which are contracts set in place for student athletes to earn money for their efforts, have also become a major factor for these moves. With much of the best talent in college football being recruited to the biggest teams, players have higher chances of making extra money with more successful programs. For example, when former quarterback for the University of Alabama, Bryce Young, was making his decision on where to sign, University of Alabama head coach, Nick Saban, told him that he could make up to $1 million in endorsement deals if he decided to go there, influencing his final choice. Saban was pointing at the idea of making money from sponsorships like CashApp, Dr.Pepper, and many others. This shows that schools with better football programs who are in higher conferences will always win over the best players no matter what, and the SEC is partly to blame for this. 

All this goes to show that the NCAA is not what it used to be. NCAA College football used to be all about the competition and teams winning football games, but nowadays the focus is more on winning more money and players.

Contact Ryan White at [email protected]