We thought that the advent of NIL would cause some unintended consequences and maybe that is or isn’t behind this story, but either way, wow: according to multiple reports, Texas and Oklahoma have approached the SEC about joining.
A number of things would argue against it though.
First, the Big 12 schools, like the ACC’s, have signed over media rights to the conference. That deal runs through 2024.
Aside from that, Texas A&M is distinctly chilly to the prospect and sees Texas, at least as far as the SEC goes, as their territory. And several other schools may not want to welcome in a big school like Texas which would push them down the pecking order.
Then there’s the Longhorn Network. It’s hard to imagine the SEC would allow Texas to keep that and it’s also hard to see Texas giving it up without a fight.
Then there’s this: Big 12 schools, without question, have an easier path to the playoffs than SEC schools do. The SEC has Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, and that’s just the top tier. Tennessee will be back, at some point, A&M is tough, arguably top tier as well, LSU is always dangerous, and pretty much anyone, except maybe Kentucky and Vanderbilt, is capable of putting together a great season.
Last year, the inelegantly named Big 12 finished this way:
- Iowa State
- Oklahoma State
- West Virginia
- Kansas State
- Texas Tech
Finally, there’s this: Texas gets to push around the Big 12 however it wants to. Want your own network? Fine. Want other special treatment? Okay.
In the SEC, it’ll be valued, but if UT went walkabout and ended up the PAC-12 or the ACC, the SEC would be just fine.
Texas will never be as important there as it is in the Big 12.
On the other hand, if those two schools do defect, the rest of the Big 12 is going to be up for grabs, as Oklahoma State has already made clear.