As the early departure of Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 to the SEC continues to stall because of competing interests between the two schools, two conferences, and two TV networks, an interesting nugget has been reported.
Per Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, one possibility that surfaced (mentioned in the article by former Fox Sports exec Bob Thompson) was a trade of future games. Specifically mentioned by Dellenger were four nonconference Texas games: home and homes with Michigan and Ohio State, one game per season from 2024 through 2027. The trade was reportedly denied.
The first solution that Thompson mentioned—a trade—has been discussed, those with knowledge of the negotiations say. That discussion centered around Texas’ future non-conference games against Michigan and Ohio State. The Longhorns are scheduled to host Michigan in 2024, play at Ohio State in 2025, host Ohio State in 2026 and play at Michigan in 2027.
An inventory trade of some sort—Fox gets a game that ESPN would own—was an option. That trade was denied.
Another possibility is the two departing schools “playing road games at legacy Big 12 programs,” and the games airing on Fox.
Another solution that has been discussed: Texas and Oklahoma playing road games at legacy Big 12 programs that, in theory, Fox would broadcast. Would that solve the inventory issue?
“I could see that happening and I could see Fox agreeing with that,” says Thompson.
But it’s not so easy. Big 12 schools, as well as Texas and Oklahoma, would have to rearrange schedules. The Sooners and Longhorns might want that agreement to be a home-and-home as well. Will their conference mates agree to such? It’s unclear.
There are a lot of factors at play that will determine whether or not a deal gets done, from future schedules to networks wanting to save face to a Scrooge McDuckian amount of money. However, when the two schools announced they were leaving the Big 12, they had to have expected this, especially with several media rights deals coming up for negotiation.