Friday made things official. Texas and Oklahoma accepted the invitations they received Thursday to join the SEC. Oklahoma said that it recently became clear that the Big 12 was last in line of the Power 5 conferences for media negotiations. They said they wanted to include Oklahoma State but the market did not support that. You can read that as the SEC didn’t want Oklahoma State. And Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said that standing pat would mean falling behind.
So the move is finally official. It might even be Facebook official. Texas and Oklahoma are set to join the SEC on July 1, 2025. Of course, every “expert” is saying that the move will happen before then. That’s probably right. Everybody will want to move on from this ugly divorce.
So what do the remaining eight Big 12 schools do now? Like most, I have been through varying emotions and thoughts on this topic. I want to say that the Big 12 will get through this and continue as a league. I want to, but I can’t.
I would love to see the final eight teams stick together. In a perfect world, Nebraska and Missouri would rejoin the conference and we would be back to ten teams who know each other and make sense regionally, well except West Virginia. I think West Virginia could be gone soon, and that would be good, so maybe the conference will have to add a third school.
I’m told that location no longer matters for conferences. That’s garbage. It certainly does matter. West Virginia doesn’t belong in the Big 12 because of its location. Sure, location doesn’t matter for football. It matters more, but not entirely, for basketball. But it matters a lot for all other sports.
I could see conference realignment changing in the near future. I could see football and some basketball conferences forming without regard to location. All other sports might be in a different conference which is closer to home. You see that already in some cases today. Starting with the upcoming school year, Missouri will participate in the SEC for all sports except wrestling. The wrestling team will participate in the Big 12 conference.
So although the initial changes to the Big 12 are now completed, there is so much more to go. A lot of questions have to be answered. And although the conference has four years before Texas and Oklahoma are officially gone, the conference has to move fast to settle its membership or risk losing more schools out of fear of the future.