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Big 12 commissioner says Oklahoma and Texas will stay in Big 12 by 2025

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13 July 2022 video. Bob Bowlsby will be replaced by Brett Yormack, who will officially take over on August 1. Video courtesy/Big 12

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oklahoma and Texas will remain in the Big 12 Conference for the remainder of the league’s current rights before leaving for the SEC in 2025, Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark said Tuesday afternoon.

“They’ll be here by 25,” Yormark told reporters at the Big 12 Basketball Tipoff at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City. “They made a commitment and reiterated that commitment before I came here. That is, they will be here for the duration (granting of rights). And my relationship with both Texas and Oklahoma is very, very strong. And they are full members and we look forward to working with them.”

Yormark’s latest comments on the future of the conference and the upcoming debuts of the OU and Texas come in a constant moment of Big 12 turmoil.

Last week, representatives from both the OU and Texas were present for league meetings with the remaining Big 12 schools in Dallas and incoming conference additions BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF. Among the issues resolved, according to multiple reports, was the adoption of an interim scheduling format for the 2023 and 2024 football seasons, reflecting the expectation that the school couple leaving in 2023 will remain in the Big 12 after the next four schools arrive in 2023.

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Yormark on Tuesday confirmed that the format does not include episodes and will retain long-running competitive games such as the Bedlam series between the OU and the State of Oklahoma. Big 12 plans to adopt similar formats for men’s and women’s basketball programs during these seasons, allowing each school to meet at least once during the two-year period.

Yormark’s claim about a release date for the OU and Texas also comes as Big 12 is in ongoing talks with broadcast partners Fox and ESPN over a new media rights deal.

The former Brooklyn Nets and Roc Nation manager expressed confidence Tuesday that the league can agree on a new deal before the special negotiation window opens in February 2024.

“My instincts tell me we did something before then,” Yormark said. “Very optimistic.”

Regardless of when OU and Texas leave for the SEC, both schools will have to pay an agreed-upon $80 million exit fee. According to Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger, schools will owe the league “more than $100 million in cumulative, estimated price tags” if they leave before the league’s current entitlement tip expires on June 30, 2025.

Yormark said the Big 12 is currently moving forward with the expectation that the OU and Texas won’t attempt to negotiate an early exit.

“My conversations with Oklahoma and Texas were always about being great members until I left at 25,” Yormark said. “And the experience has been very positive so far.”

Yormark said at Big 12 Media Days in July that he was “not opposed” to early negotiations with the two schools that were leaving, but noted that he would enter those talks on certain terms.

“I’m sure there will be a moment when we sit down and discuss the future,” he said on July 13. “But in a situation like this, I always look for a win-win scenario. However, it is important that whatever happens, it is in the best interest of this conference.”

Yormark officially replaced longtime Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby on August 1, nearly 12 months after the SEC announced that the OU and Texas would join the conference no later than July 1, 2025.