Sources: Texas, Oklahoma participating in SEC's discussion about football schedule format
DESTIN, Fla. — Texas and Oklahoma, scheduled to join the SEC in 2025, have been part of lengthy discussions about the conference’s hotly debated schedule format, sources told Saturday Down South.
There are multiple plans being debated for the new format, which includes a decision on number of conference games (8 or 9), permanent and rotating opponents, and whether the SEC will keep the wildly successful division format or move to no divisions.
“They’re as important as any other member,” an SEC AD told me.
Texas and OU do not have representatives here at the SEC spring meetings.
Texas and OU have also been part of broader discussions within the SEC, including but not limited to the possibility of the SEC forming its own Playoff at the end of the current College Football Playoff contract after the 2025 season.
Texas and OU are scheduled to join the SEC for the 2025 season. Sources told SDS last summer that the “expectation” was for Texas and OU to enter the league as soon as possible — even as early as the 2022 season.
The potential of that happening ended when the Power 5 conferences couldn’t agree on a new Playoff format. One industry source said the Alliance of the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC scuttled the potential 12-team Playoff as a way to rein in the SEC and prevent the early move of Texas and OU.
Multiple sources said the road to get Texas and OU to the SEC early consisted of a new Playoff structure, and the Big 12’s need to remain an Autonomous 5 (Power 5) conference and reap the financial windfall of it. And the SEC’s ability too clear a path for it to happen.
The current A5 schools will vote on the structure of any new Playoff payout, which could fetch as much as $1.2 billion annually. The Big 12, after losing its two heavyweight programs and without a blue-blood team, would’ve had problems staying at the Power 5 level of payout.
The value of the Big 12, one industry source said, went from “$30-plus million per team to less than half that” with the loss to Texas and OU.
Soon after the expanded Playoff was tabled until the end of the current deal, the SEC began working on a proactive response. That, as much as anything, is why SEC athletic directors were given marching orders by their presidents and commissioner Greg Sankey to think big when discussing the conference’s future. No plan is too wild, or too out of the box — for all 16 future members.