Top 12 Texas Senators Unhappy With Longhorns’ SEC Membership
- The Longhorns and Sooners could leave before the 2025 invite, but it could cost them $ 80 million in exit fees.
- President Jay Hartzell said ESPN did not try to influence Texas’ decision.
The folks who produce Comedy Central’s celebrity roasts would have loved what happened on Capitol Hill this week on a manic Monday.
The only thing missing from the Texas Senate Select Committee hearing on the future of college sport in Texas was rotisserie master Jeff Ross presiding over the festivities with Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart joking about smoking. grass and go to jail.
With Texas and Oklahoma officially accepting invitations to the SEC as of July 1, 2025, the Big 12 ended up with a much smaller bag, though Little Conference That Could be determined to avoid total erasure.
On the Second Thought podcast:Paul Finebaum on UT at the SEC; TexAgs on Aggie temperature
More from Bohls:Longhorns could do ‘pretty well in SEC’, but why wait, says Finebaum
For those unfamiliar with the roast format of Comedy Central, a panel of comedians and celebrities gather on stage in front of a live audience to hurl unrestrained slurs at the guest of honor, usually a sitting megastar. there and takes his medicine (s) to raise money for a charitable cause.
90 minutes of questions for Hartzell, including how plans for Texas move to SEC began
UT President Jay Hartzell may not be famous, but within those boundaries, the school he represents has taken on the character of the Black Hat. After helping orchestrate arguably the most shocking league change in college football history, he showed up at the hearing for what turned out to be a six-hour UT stoning.
Texas and Oklahoma might have won the lottery version of college football, but parts of Hartzell’s conversations with a room full of elected leaders were downright newsworthy. Sometimes the questions were worded with respect to gain insight into the decision to leave, but other times it was simply an opportunity for politicians to throw well-targeted grenades at the Longhorns brand.
Hartzell spent almost 90 minutes in the hot seat and, to his credit, he dutifully answered all questions. It was obvious he was there to take whatever lawmakers chose to come up with as Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby – who answered questions for almost two hours and refused to follow through on his outspoken accusations of irregularity by Disney / ESPN when the news broke – sitting stoically staring back rows several rows.
More from Golden:New Texas Men’s Coach Chris Beard Is Here To Win Now (And Unite With The Past)
Most notable among Hartzell’s responses was a strong denial that the sports broadcast giant had influenced Texas and OU decisions to move to greener pastures despite ESPN’s $ 3 billion television deal. with the SEC that will surely swell once the Longhorns and Sooners are part of the mix.
When asked how the whole affair got started, Hartzell said conversations with Oklahoma President Joe Harroz and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey this spring were the first catalyst before things came together. are heating up this summer as he consulted with UT System Chairman of the Board Kevin Eltife, athletic director Chris Del Conte and AD assistant Shawn Eichorst.
State Senator John Whitmire, D-Houston, a University of Houston graduate who spent most of the afternoon interviewing Big 12 representatives as to why the Cougars weren’t invited at the conference years ago, was just as astonished as the rest of the world at the news gathering and free flow of communication that the negotiating parties had managed to contain the powder keg for months.
“Admiral (William) McRaven would be proud of you, because you all did this as a special ops program,” he told Hartzell.
Chronology:When will Texas and Oklahoma join the SEC? Here is what we know.
Senator Lois Kolkhorst, R-Victoria, delivered the biggest zinger of the day. After Hartzell revealed that UT’s sports budget was over $ 200 million, she replied, “3-7 against TCU. Maybe your fan base would rather lose to Alabama than TCU. “Kolkhorst, of course, attended TCU.
Bowlsby: Big 12 could see 50% drop in TV value
The conference must now decide whether it can continue to operate without its biggest producers of money. Texas and Oklahoma have the highest ratings and fill their huge stadiums on top of being the league’s only traditional powers.
Bowlsby said the Big 12 could suffer a 50% drop in television value once Texas and OU leave, and a loss of its Power Five status could cripple the league further. Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoads said his department, which operates on less than half of UT’s budget, will need to reconsider the planned construction of a $ 125 million arena. On a larger scale, the Perryman Group predicted that an eight-team league without the Horns and Sooners would face a loss of around $ 940 million in annual gross product and more than 12,600 jobs.
The odds of the Big 12 finding their place aren’t great, as potential replacements just don’t deliver the same financial blow or star power. The chance to make more money in a much more formidable league – in numbers and in winning tradition – was apparently just too enticing to pass up, although Rhoads took a different opinion.
“Many of my colleagues across the country – and trust me, I have spoken to several over the past two weeks – have said that this current situation has arisen because the University of Texas thinks so much of themselves. “Rhoads said. “I disagree. I think this is because Texas thinks too little of itself. The resounding success of a neighboring conference created unwarranted insecurity in them that has metastasized. Sadly. , many of us are being left behind. ”
The smaller of the Power Five conferences faces a brutal reality, and their collective decision not to expand to 12 teams a few years ago was surely a misstep, though it’s possible that both Texas and the Oklahoma pushed to stay at 10 to make a potential break with the league. much easier.
Either way, it was a movement of money, and the fallout is already being felt. The Big 12 have gone out of business while the Horns and Sooners will make more money even if they never taste another conference title in the hive they will soon inhabit.
It was clearly about winning the bank and a chance to silence critics who say players aren’t fully developed in this league when it comes to preparing them for a career in the NFL.
Comedy Central’s roasts always end with the evening’s target turning the tide on its tormentors to the public’s delight, but that’s where the similarities to the current state of affairs end in a Big 12. . broken.
A big roast has just arrived, but it’s no laughing matter.