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A Letter to Texas and Oklahoma From the Big 12 Conference

Texas Longhorns SEC
© Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman

Dearest Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners,

The day has come and gone. You are officially in the Southeastern Conference and out of the Big 12 Conference. In your eyes, you have left the Big 12 to die a slow, painful death. Your two programs, which kept the conference alive and kicking, have officially moved on to greener pastures. That's how you see it, anyway.

On to Greener Pastures?

To play devil's advocate for a moment, it is true that with the way college athletics is going, the SEC is perhaps the best conference to be in right now. It has the second most revenue, the best TV deals and a ton of overall tradition in college athletics' highest revenue-producing sport. SEC football makes more than most professional sports leagues and will make even more now with the House v. NCAA settlement.

However, let's talk about how you two will fare in the SEC for a moment, not just in football, but in other revenue-producing sports. After all, you were picked up due to your brands as athletic departments, not just as football programs. Were that not the case, you'd still be in the Big 12 with no invite from the SEC, given the fact that neither of you has made a College Football Playoff final yet, and the last national championship either of you won in any high-revenue producing sport was back when your current student body was in diapers.

Then again, if the Vanderbilt Commodores can sustain an SEC membership, I suppose you two can as well. Who knows how long good ole Vandy will last though? Speaking of Vanderbilt, how's Texas doing against the Commodores head-to-head?

Digressions aside, can your "tradition of excellence" persist against the likes of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Georgia Bulldogs or even the Tennessee Volunteers, LSU Tigers and Missouri Tigers? You do understand you don't get to "beat up on Big 12 cupcakes" on a weekly basis in this new conference?

The Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Iowa State Cyclones, TCU Horned Frogs and Oklahoma State Cowboys give their kindest regards in seeing you off, by the way. You beat them year in and year out, yeah? Never a blemish on any of those records, right? Both in and out of football, regularly beating up on the Big 12 competition. You had to leave to make sure the competition was fair and to preserve your brand! This SEC will be a fun new challenge that you're definitely ready for, especially since your two teams have great head-to-head records against SEC foes in every sport. You've got every shot at winning this conference. All you needed was the chance!

Not only will you have better competition in the SEC, but you'll also have better TV deals. No more Longhorn Network or special treatment to make sure your great brands get shown on television and get the recognition they deserve. Your conference has a TV network instead, something you screwed the Big 12 out of because you held the conference hostage over wanting to feel special and the insatiable need for more money. Let's just say the SEC won't allow that, but no worries, it's not like you need the extra money anyway given you two already produce some of the highest revenue in college sports, right?

You'll instead have to share TV time when Alabama plays Chattanooga. No more watching your last national championship from 20 years ago, wishing you could get back to those days, and no more delusions that you are back because one of y'all made the College Football Playoff for the first time last year, only to get beat by a Washington Huskies team that was eventually steamrolled by their future Big Ten Conference opponent. You know what they say though: If you can't beat them, join them!

Wait, is that what's really going on here? Have these "marquee brands" just given up on conferences that propped them up in the first place to go be a middle-of-the-road team in these new super-conferences? That doesn't really sound like greener pastures for these brands. It's like that one kid trying to fit in with the popular crowd in high school, it kind of just seems pathetic and makes them seem like disingenuous sellouts.

The Big 12 Will Survive

You say that the Big 12 will die without their two best brands. The Red River Rivalry, the great players that played for your programs, the traditions, all of it gone and with it, the Big 12. Please give it a rest. There are sibling rivalries with more beef between them than the Red River Rivalry. Your two programs were more buddy-buddy throughout this transition process than two friends who have known each other for 20-plus years.

If it were Kansas and Kansas State, a Jayhawk would say that the Wildcat was trying to be a cheap imitation of big brother, and vice-versa. Why are you celebrating, as you ride off into the sunset together like you two are best pals? Are you rivals or not? It doesn't seem like there's that good, old-fashioned tradition of hatred with you two, to be frank. Shoot, the Kansas/Missouri Border War has been dead for over a decade now and still features more vitriol between the two teams than exists between you two.

Speaking of the two most long-standing brands in the Big 12 in Kansas and Kansas State though, whose Sunflower Showdown rivalry has about 20 years on the Red River Rivalry and also has a bit more visceral hatred by the looks of it, the Big 12 will be just fine without your two brands. Especially Texas, who from the start behaved like a spoiled child since moving over from the Southwest Conference, a conference they legitimately have blood on their hands for killing.

However, Texas and Oklahoma have not killed the Big 12. Far from it. There's still plenty of tradition, plenty of competition and plenty of strong programs and brands that are willing to work with one another.

No longer will Big 12 Conference Commissioner Brett Yormark have to listen to the incessant complaining of Texas and Oklahoma boosters on how he's not doing it the way they would do it. No longer will he have to hear pathetic pleas for more money because their football programs didn't win like they were supposed to. No more complaining about the potential for better competition if new members joined. No more complaining about earlier kickoff times because the first game of the day isn't "prime kickoff time" and "hurts national recruiting." No more pathetic crying over how someone did your patented, completely original hand signal wrong. No more whiny, ungrateful, spoiled children.

The Big 12 actually has grown since Texas and Oklahoma left, and with the way Yormark is pursuing further growth, further TV revenue and further national recognition, the Big 12 has every shot at survival in this new age of college athletics. While Oklahoma and Texas toil for recognition and brand upkeep in the SEC, the Big 12 will continue to grow their brands and become stronger than before.

The Big 12 has a chance for a new beginning now that the loudest and most egregious voices have left. They kept the conference down while pursuing their insatiable needs.

"The loudest voices in the room were absent, and in that void were new voices leading the charge. Several athletic directors and coaches described the meetings as one of the more productive and amicable spring get-togethers in the conference's history," said Brandon Marcello, columnist for CBS Sports, regarding the initial meetings between athletic directors and coaches of the new Big 12.

Without the distractions of those who think they rule the room, the Big 12 actually has a chance to survive and even thrive. Yormark has positioned the Big 12 to become, at the very least, a third, almost middle-ground conference between the Group of Five and SEC/Big Ten. Better TV deals, a tighter-knit group of athletic directors and coaches and overall a new lease on life with the new members. The cancers have officially been set loose, unlike the ACC where they persist, and should the ACC not cut ties with the schools that choose to not work for a better future of college athletics by thinking progressively and strategically, then the Big 12 will be there to clean up.

It's already been set in motion for better revenue deals to be worked on in 2028 for the Big 12. All that's left is waiting for the ACC to fall or survive and maintain the four-conference status quo. The Big 12 was never going to die. It just adapted and strengthened ties without traitorous, greedy and ungrateful voices in its ear telling it the fight was hopeless. The Big 12 will fight tooth and nail to ensure the brands associated with it are in the best spot possible.

In Conclusion, Good Riddance

In conclusion, your two programs wasted $100 million to move from a conference that was tired of you anyway. Now that you're gone, the Big 12 has a chance to expand and survive the chaotic wilderness known as conference realignment, and you have a chance to live out your pipe dreams of becoming SEC powerhouses.

The fact of the matter is, you will be competitive, at least, but nothing much will change other than hopefully the long-overdue cessation of the delusions of grandeur your two programs had of being powerhouses over Big 12 programs. You'll win some, you'll lose some, but all you'll be known for is being the two teams that really thought they did something special by switching conferences only to become middling SEC programs. All for the sake of money and not wanting to vouch for programs that you've spent decades building relationships with.

Texas was expected. They're notorious conference killers and overall a cancerous program to associate with in regard to college football. Money and attention-hungry, they were going to get it somehow. The proof was in the Longhorn Network deal in 2011, the decade that followed and the abject sense of entitlement that came with it, but Oklahoma following suit was low and disappointing. A program that had spent a century with the "Hateful Eight" and almost a century "hating" Texas decided to join Texas in its quest for greed and to try to help kill college athletics as we know it.

It would be a shame on them if they actually killed the Big 12, but in this case, their departure made the conference stronger in multiple different ways, so good riddance. If you don't want to be a part of progress and part of the effort to save college athletics, then by all means leave. Good riddance to both of you, enjoy your time in the SEC and don't come crawling back when you realize the SEC won't bend to your demands.


The Big 12 Conference

PS: You celebrating leaving the Big 12 like you just won the national title speaks volumes.

2 comentários

02 de jul.


  • Longhorn network ends: Yes, it discontinues in it's current form, but it will continue as a streaming service.

  • You indicated that Texas and OU (and the Red River Rivalry) are not really marquee teams/events. Sir, with all due respect, they were the two biggest teams in the Big XII and the RRR is one of the top rivalry games in the nation, year in, year out. It's disingenuous to indicate otherwise.

  • The conference is stronger without Texas and OU. I think you need to step away from whatever drugs you're currently taking.

  • Yormark is a good commissioner. He's way better than Beebe was, but that's not saying a lot. His bias in favoring one school in the conference over…

02 de jul.
Respondendo a
  1. The Longhorn Network and its existence are the main reason the Big 12 never had its own network, because Texas wanted to feel special. The SEC will either localize the Longhorn Network or get rid of it entirely within 5 years if it doesn’t perform well, which given the fact that the rest of the SEC already doesn’t like Texas, it doesn’t bode well.

  2. It never said they weren’t marquee teams/events. Simply said the rivalry between the two schools was watered down because of how buddy-buddy the two schools were throughout the transition process and that there are older, more historic rivalries that aren’t propped up by TV networks. The two schools aren’t as important as you think, they’re simply…

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