Oklahoma, Texas A&M may look at moving to SEC because of Texas' TV Network
by Matt Hayes, Sporting News
BIRMINGHAM - The continuing evolution of Texas' place in the Big 12 will have far-reaching ramifications -- including the most powerful conference in college football.
A source told Sporting News
Wednesday that both Texas A&M and Oklahoma are so concerned about rival Texas gaining a recruiting advantage with the newly-formed Longhorn Network, the two institutions could turn to the SEC if the problems can't be figured out. The core issue: The Longhorn Network will televise live high school football games in the state of Texas, an obvious recruiting advantage for Texas.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Wednesday that he will "continue to do what is in the best interest of the SEC."
"It is my job to make sure the SEC is the premiere league," Slive said. "For me to exclude any action that would preclude that from happening would be inappropriate."
Texas A&M and Oklahoma were both in talks with the SEC last summer when Texas was contemplating a move to the Pac-10. The Big 12 eventually made it work in the 11th hour, in part, because of heavyweight Texas' deal to pursue its own television network outside of the league coffers.
Now that the network will include televising high school games in the state of Texas, the dynamics of the Big 12 (and the SEC) could still change. Slive said that he is "comfortable" with the current 12-team SEC, and that it would take a "paradigm shift" for the SEC to expand.
Texas A&M and Oklahoma looking for a new home would be that kind of shift. Moreover, Slive said the SEC's television deals with CBS and ESPN have clauses that allow them to renegotiate if the conference structure changes.
In other words, adding two teams wouldn't mean the SEC is dividing the current revenue pie. It would mean, more than anything, completely restructured deals that would likely dwarf the $2 billion-plus the SEC receives from current CBS and ESPN deals.