Winners and losers in proposed conference realignment

24 Jul By
Team Shop
If Texas and Oklahoma actually make the reported move from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference, the effects could ripple across all of college athletics (photos courtesy of texassports.com and soonersports.com / graphic by Horns Illustrated).

The top sports story in college sports this summer has been the revelation that Texas and Oklahoma reached out to officials from the Southeastern Conference to express their interest in joining the conference widely accepted as the best in the nation. Media reports vary on the details, but it is widely believed that the departure by the Longhorns and Sooners from the Big 12 is all but done, and that an announcement could be coming within a month, or perhaps even within a week.

The move to the SEC adds two of the top athletic programs to the top conference in the country. Texas and Oklahoma are enormously popular programs, enjoying success every year in the programs that matter most: football, basketball and baseball. The SEC is the strongest conference in the country, but when approached by the Big 12’s two marquee programs — several reports say the conversations began months ago, without the knowledge of some or all SEC schools — the league was understandably receptive to adding the Sooners and Longhorns. Bringing OU and UT into the fold means more fans, more media attention, more dollars … and keeps that portion away from any other conference, thereby increasing the SEC’s market share within the landscape of college athletics.

Again, the move appears imminent, but it is not yet finalized, so for the purposes of discussion, assume that it’s going to happen. If it does, who wins? And who loses?

Winners
College athletics is, if nothing else, a lucrative business. Add up the SEC, a couple of high-profile programs like Texas and OU, and