‘Huge opportunity’: OU approves agreements to leave Big 12, join SEC
KOKH - May 6, 2023 4:57 pm
NORMAN, Okla. (KOKH) — It’s official. The University of Oklahoma has put the final touches on their exit from the Big 12 Conference.
For one more year, Norman is Big 12 territory. But, after July 1 of 2024, it’s all SEC.
It took less than 10 minutes for the OU Board of Regents to all agree.
“It is a big lift,” OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. said. “We’ve been talking about and working with the City of Norman, City of Oklahoma City, City of Moore. How do we accommodate all of it? How do we make sure that we put our best foot forward as a state because there’s a huge opportunity here.”
OU announced it has approved a contract with the Big 12 and SEC, which allows the university to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC next year.
“[There] were a lot of conversations over a period of time,” Athletic Director Joe Castiglione said. “I think everybody agrees that for everybody’s best interest going forward this is a great decision.”
The move puts a stamp on OU joining the SEC a year earlier than expected.
“The competitive level and performance level of success is outstanding as you know,” Castiglione said. “We feel like Oklahoma is bringing a lot of the same characteristics and attributes.”
OU will leave behind $40 million from its Big 12 TV rights with the conference next year.
“By leaving a year early, that’s a full share just left behind for the rest of the members,” President Harroz Jr. said.
But school leaders say they’re optimistic, as OU will begin competing in the SEC in the fall of 2024.
“Everybody’s working on how we can be both ready and welcoming and sell all the great aspects of Norman, Oklahoma,” Castiglione said. “This part of our state, and entire state for that matter.”