116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — The news the college sports world had been expecting for a week arrived.
Texas and Oklahoma formally notified the SEC of their membership request. It’s expected both will be voted into the conference.
As of Tuesday, Texas and Oklahoma have said they plan to honor their current grant of media rights with the Big 12, which runs through the 2024-25 season.
“We will face these challenges head-on, and we have confidence that the Big 12 will continue to be a vibrant and successful entity in the near term and into the foreseeable future,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement released by the Big 12.
Late Monday, Iowa State president Wendy Wintersteen and Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard released a video expressing their disappointment with Oklahoma and Texas as well as lightly detailing the next steps for Iowa State.
“I encourage our fans, although it is fun and interesting to get caught up in all of the rumors, that this is one more time where we need to take a step back and have patience,” Pollard said. “We need to understand that this isn’t going to be solved anytime soon.”
It was reported Texas and Oklahoma were in talks with the SEC for months before the Houston Chronicle broke the news. It didn’t happen overnight and it won’t happen overnight for the rest of the schools to find a new home.
If someone takes a cursory scroll through Twitter, they’ll see reports left and right of different schools in talks with different conferences.
Kirk Bohls from the Austin American-Statesman tweeted, “I’m told Big Ten is much more interested in AAU schools than the Pac-12 is. I’m told Kansas and Iowa State (both AAU members) made a run at the Big Ten.”
Meanwhile Bruce Feldman from The Athletic tweeted, “New Pac-12 commissioner George Kilavkoff says the conference has received ‘significant interest from many schools’ regarding potential expansion opportunities.”
Pollard’s point is reports like those will continue to file out like a conga line and it’ll take time for anything to get hammered down. It would be in every Big 12 athletics director’s best interest to gauge the interest level of every potential conference landing spot.
“I think it’s really important that all Cyclone fans understand that it’s not a time to panic,” Pollard said. “Our industry is in a complete state of flux and quite frankly, every institution should be evaluating where they are and how things are going to look as the landscape continues to change.”
If Texas and Oklahoma do honor their media rights through the 2024-25 season, Pollard will have plenty of time to find Iowa State a home.
“We know Oklahoma and Texas intend to honor their grant of rights,” Pollard said. “If that remains the case, we know the Big 12 is going to stay viable and it will continue to win and compete for national championships.
“All 10 members will continue to receive their full media shares. That allows us the opportunity to spend the next four years evaluating the landscape and understand what is and isn’t changing in college athletics.”
If that time table gets accelerated and Oklahoma and Texas leave early, things across the college sports landscape will get very interesting very fast.
“This will be a long, bumpy and challenging road for everybody in college athletics — not just Iowa State or the Big 12. It’ll be the entire industry,” Pollard said.