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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Clay Travis analyzes Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC

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In 2011, nearly precisely 10 years in the past in the present day, OutKick launched as an impartial web site amidst the chaos of convention realignment. It was throughout convention realignment that lots of you continue to studying OutKick in the present day first grew to become conscious of me and this web site.

With information breaking a number of hours in the past that Texas and Oklahoma have inquired about becoming a member of the SEC, it’s deja vu over again.

Confession: These are my favourite forms of tales on the market. I like the complexities of enterprise, politics, sports activities, and the way forward for school athletics all being rolled into one complicated chess match.


Additional confession, my spouse considers convention realignment to be essentially the most boring matter in sports activities historical past. She received’t learn this, but when she have been studying it, her eyes could be rolling already.

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So let’s think about the 9 largest questions raised by the thought of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC.

1. The primary and most essential query is that this: what could be required for Texas and Oklahoma to affix the SEC?

Oklahoma head soccer coach Lincoln Riley speaks from the stage throughout NCAA school soccer Huge 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photograph/LM Otero)

Properly, based on SEC bylaws, 11 of the 14 SEC colleges must vote in favor of extending gives to Texas and Oklahoma.

Meaning 4 SEC colleges would want to vote no to maintain this from taking place.

So how would the SEC colleges vote? It’s an excellent query. I don’t suppose SEC commissioner Greg Sankey would carry a vote until he was assured the convention members would vote to develop.

Having stated that, in previous years, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky have banded collectively to conform to vote in opposition to every other colleges of their respective states from receiving a proposal. That stored Georgia Tech, Florida State, Louisville, and Clemson from ever receiving a proposal to affix the SEC. Since that quad was shaped, Texas A&M has now entered the SEC as a brand new member. In concept, these 5 colleges may be part of collectively and bar a college like Texas from receiving an SEC invite.

However does that alliance nonetheless exist? And may Georgia, Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina, seeing Texas A&M start to rise, really favor that the Aggies had in-state competitors in a soccer loopy state like Texas? It’s a implausible query.

Moreover, what would Texas A&M and Missouri, two colleges that left the Huge 12 partly due to Texas’ affect, take into consideration the thought of the Longhorns coming again into the convention?

There are experiences already that each colleges would vote no, however how may extra cash and SEC realignment change the voting calculus?

Which brings us to a second query.


2. What would a 16-team SEC appear to be?

If the SEC went to 16 groups, the convention would abandon two divisions and make 4 new divisions of 4 groups every. You possibly can think about the battles over these divisions.

However a 16-team SEC would really make scheduling simpler, in some ways. If SEC groups caught to eight convention video games, the groups may play the three groups of their division yearly, two yearly rivals on an annual foundation, after which play the remaining 5 groups one yr and the opposite 5 groups the following yr.

This fashion, the SEC would make sure that each convention workforce performed each different convention workforce, highway and away, each 4 years. So in concept, a soccer participant would graduate having performed in each venue. Proper now, the SEC can go 12 years between some colleges finishing highway and residential schedules.

Moreover, what if the SEC fought for automated bids for every of its division champions within the school soccer playoff? I’m unsure that would occur, however for those who knew you solely needed to end first in a four-team division, NFL-style, to make the playoff, that could possibly be one heck of a bargaining chip.

3. Can Texas and Oklahoma get out of their Huge 12 TV contracts with ESPN and Fox?

Sure, in 4 years when their current TV contracts expire in 2025, each faculty successfully turns into a free agent.

The grant of rights settlement ceases to exist at that time.

However what about Texas’ Longhorn Community settlement?

That deal runs with ESPN till 2031, however ESPN controls the Longhorn Community and ESPN additionally controls all of the rights to the SEC for the following 20 years.

So the Longhorn Community may simply be rolled into the present SEC rights package deal. (The cost to Texas for the Longhorn Community is roughly analogous to what each SEC faculty makes from the SEC Community now.) ESPN may even flip the Longhorn Community right into a everlasting SEC Community 2.

Sure, ESPN may decide to not one, however two SEC networks.


4. What can the Huge 12 do to maintain this from taking place?

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian speaks during the NCAA college football Big 12 media days Thursday, July 15, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian speaks in the course of the NCAA school soccer Huge 12 media days Thursday, July 15, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photograph/LM Otero)

You possibly can count on a battle.

A giant one.

There may even be lawsuits.

Oklahoma State would do its finest to exert political stress on the Oklahoma legislature to maintain the Sooners from leaving. Texas Tech, Baylor and TCU would work as onerous as they might on the Texas legislature to maintain the Longhorns from bailing.

The departure of Texas and Oklahoma would drastically weaken the worth of the remaining eight Huge 12 groups.

I’ll go away it to higher political consultants than me to determine the possible final result, but when Texas have been good it may argue its departure possible elevates Houston into the Huge 12, placing Cougar followers of their nook. And, bear in mind, many individuals on the market stated it could be unattainable for Texas A&M to depart the Huge 12 too.

It’s possible you’ll recall there was even a political motion committee shaped to argue in favor of saving Texas school soccer.

The Aggies overrode that opposition to affix the SEC.

Whereas the Huge 12 can file lawsuits galore, finally if Texas and Oklahoma wish to go away, I feel it could be onerous to maintain them from doing so, absent main actions undertaken by the native state legislatures. And if, say, one of many legislatures tried to maintain this from taking place, that legislature could possibly be undercutting the leverage of different colleges.

If Oklahoma left for the SEC, Oklahoma State would wish to get to a different main convention. So too would the opposite colleges.

This might quickly flip into an ‘each faculty for itself’ scenario, with convention musical chairs leaving some unlucky colleges with no residence when the music stops enjoying.


5. What does Texas A&M need and what number of allies does it have within the SEC and the Texas legislature?

Presumably the Aggies wish to stay the one SEC workforce within the state of Texas. That gives a considerable recruiting benefit to the Aggies now and it was one of many main causes they left the Huge 12 a decade in the past.

A cynic would level out that Texas all of the sudden needs to affix the SEC proper as A&M rises to new heights underneath Jimbo Fisher.

However would a brand new four-team division of Texas, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Oklahoma actually be dangerous for the Aggies? Wouldn’t a reunion of the {old} Southwest convention powers arguably be excellent for all of these groups? And, once more, what if the SEC may dangle a playoff spot to each division winner? Then you definately’d solely must beat three colleges to play for a title yearly.

6. Who leaked this story?

The Houston Chronicle broke this story, particularly a Texas A&M beat author, Brent Zwerneman.

And it was damaged on the very day Texas A&M was showing in Birmingham, simply in time for them to talk to the biggest potential media contingent of the yr.

That’s awfully handy, don’t you suppose?

So this appears like a focused intentional leak versus a narrative that simply occurred to interrupt coincidentally. Which brings us to the following query: was this a focused leak designed to make Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC kind of possible?

My learn right here could be the leak was designed to make it much less possible.

Holding a narrative like this quiet till the final potential second is one of the best ways to make a transfer like this occur. Leaking a narrative akin to this permits political stress and opposition time to prepare. Silence is the asset of the stealthy transfer.

So my wager could be the leaker(s) are in favor of the established order and don’t need Texas or Oklahoma heading to the SEC.

7. Why would Texas and Oklahoma wish to go away the Huge 12 for the SEC?

The reply is fairly easy, cash. And status. And extra money primarily based on an enormous improve in potential ticket gross sales with yearly SEC competitors. I do know lots of you’re already arguing Texas and Oklahoma would have a harder path to the playoff from the SEC, however I don’t essentially consider that’s true.


As a result of proper now convention champions aren’t given automated bids in a 12-team expanded playoff. Plans name for the highest six highest-ranked convention champions after which the following highest-ranked six groups.

An SEC with Texas and Oklahoma may lay declare to half of the yearly playoff bids in some years. And it could in all probability result in a transforming of the variety of convention champions provided spots.

Heck, it may even result in an argument in favor of 16 playoff groups.

And don’t neglect the thought of a SEC division champ getting its personal playoff spot both.

However all that might be sooner or later.

Within the meantime, how good does SEC commissioner Greg Sankey search for advocating for the biggest potential playoff? The larger the playoff, the much less Texas and Oklahoma stand to lose by becoming a member of a brand new convention.

Lastly, Texas and Oklahoma in contacting the SEC are implicitly acknowledging that branding issues and that the Huge 12’s model isn’t robust sufficient. The most effective recruits wish to play in opposition to the perfect competitors. That’s the SEC.

8. What concerning the different conferences, may they make runs after Texas and Oklahoma?

That is the place issues get much more enjoyable.

Might Texas and Oklahoma have leaked this information to try to create a public bidding battle, pitting the SEC, the Huge Ten, the Pac-12 and the ACC all in opposition to each other in an effort to garner their companies? Positive.

Moderately than maneuver quietly behind the scenes, these colleges might have theorized {that a} leak drives up their buy value. Or permits them to extract an enormous ransom/extortion cost from the opposite Huge 12 colleges.

And if the Huge 12 lastly implodes, what may occur elsewhere with different groups? You possibly can see a transfer the place West Virginia and Kansas may make sense to the ACC, as an illustration, to get the ACC to 16 groups as effectively. How about Notre Dame and Kansas as full-time additions to the ACC? The chances of the ACC standing nonetheless are slim, I feel, if the Huge 12 implodes.

In the meantime, may the Huge 12 try to develop and add BYU, Boise State and Houston in an effort to guard itself? Positively.

Might the Pac-12 make a run at Kansas, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Texas Tech to get to 16 groups itself? What about BYU and Boise State to the Pac-12? And the way would the Pac-12’s tutorial requirements play in right here?

And the way concerning the Huge Ten, the SEC’s true competitors? Might the Huge Ten go after Texas and Oklahoma and bid in opposition to the SEC? How concerning the Huge Ten going after Notre Dame and Texas? Or what concerning the Huge Ten making an attempt to seize Kansas and Notre Dame? Who is aware of what the Huge Ten’s counter punch to the SEC’s punch could be.

Lastly, don’t low cost the thought of Texas going utterly impartial, or no less than threatening to take action.

9. What does ESPN need?

Keep in mind, ESPN is placing up the cash right here. It’s the purpose why Texas and Oklahoma may wish to go to the SEC.

ESPN goes to must pay a king’s ransom to make the SEC much more highly effective than it’s in the present day. The rationale the SEC isn’t nonetheless with CBS within the years forward is as a result of CBS refused to reward the SEC for including Texas A&M and Missouri. There’s no means the SEC would make this transfer with out everybody making much more cash.

And that cash would principally be coming from ESPN since ESPN controls all of the SEC’s rights going ahead.

In actual fact, you would even see an argument the place ESPN suggests the SEC create its personal digital community and begin charging for added premium content material on ESPN+, UFC model.

One massive change for the reason that SEC Community launched in 2014 is manufacturers matter greater than new markets in a post-cable bundle period.

It was conferences wished new states to extend the payout for his or her networks, now they want higher manufacturers to chop by way of the noise. Texas and Oklahoma are two premier manufacturers that might improve the buy-in for the SEC as a premium product.

A 16-team SEC with Texas and Oklahoma wouldn’t be primarily competing with the remainder of school soccer any longer, it could be competing with the AFC and the NFC.

Which is why the perfect asset the Huge 12 would have if Texas and Oklahoma bolted could be ESPN’s potential authorized legal responsibility. If ESPN has a TV contract with the Huge 12, how can it even be the first monetary purpose Texas and Oklahoma are leaving?

That would appear to violate the community’s fiduciary duties of fine religion to its current contractual companion. That’s why I feel it’s altogether potential ESPN may need to pony up substantial cash to the remaining members of the Huge 12 in an effort to maintain these convention members from suing them.

Keep in mind, that’s what occurred final time when the Huge 12 appeared on the verge of doom. Colorado, Texas A&M, and Missouri all left the Huge 12 and regardless of shedding a complete of three groups the Huge 12 was capable of get a big TV contract from ESPN and Fox.


As a result of ESPN had potential authorized liabilities if the remaining Huge 12 colleges had sued.

That scenario remains to be at play now.


Which means the Huge 12, a {dead} convention strolling for a while now, may nonetheless have a future, albeit an much more tenuous one, even with out Texas and Oklahoma in a publish 2025 collegiate panorama.

Buckle up, there are a ton of authorized complexities right here which are going to be enjoyable to look at play out.

I can’t wait to see all of it.

Realignment insanity is again, child! And OutKick goes to be throughout it, similar to we have been a decade in the past when this web site launched.

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