Wyoming v Texas
Getty Images

The Big 12 could have withheld over $160 million from Oklahoma and Texas for departing for the SEC in 2024-25 but instead landed on an estimated reduced amount of $100 million, according to a USA Today report detailing the financial nuances of leaving the Big 12 a year early. Those figures, which were previously reported by CBS Sports, didn't meet unanimous approval within league circles, however, as Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor told USA Today that some ADs were "kind of dumbfounded" at the agreement with the departing schools.

Texas and Oklahoma are joining the SEC for the 2024-25 season, making the current football season their last as Big 12 members. The Big 12 could have withheld two years worth of payouts to the Sooners and Longhorns under league bylaws, but both programs are set to receive payouts for 2023-24, according to the USA Today report. Instead, their payouts will only be withheld for the 2024-25 season, which is the Big 12's last under its current Grant of Rights and the first season in which Texas and Oklahoma will participate in the SEC.

Taylor told USA Today that league athletic directors fought back against letting Oklahoma and Texas off the hook short of the full amount they owe. However, he said Big 12 lawyers advised league leadership that trying to enforce the bylaws could result in the conference being "tied up on lawsuits forever." The settlement amount also aligns with an earlier CBS Sports report over what type of agreement the Big 12 should expect to reach with the departing schools.

USA Today also reported:

  • While Oklahoma and Texas won't be eligible to receive full revenue shares from the SEC until 2025-26 -- leaving a gap in 2024-25 without distribution from either conference -- they will be insulated by ESPN during the gap. The network has agreed to make a "transition payment" to each school.
  • Colorado received a $2.5 million "bonus" from the Big 12 for joining the conference. Colorado announced it was leaving the Pac-12 for the Big 12 in late July. Arizona, Arizona State and Utah then decided to leave the Pac-12 for the Big 12 in early August. The defectors from the Pac-12 will join the Big 12 for the 2024-25 academic year.