Life comes at you fast in the college football world.
This time last week, rumors began to burble up from blogs and message boards that the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Oklahoma were planning to join the Southeastern Conference and leave the Big 12 – an athletic association they helped found, and have since held up as the two money-making tent poles. Now we know that those rumors were true, as both schools have announced they will head to the SEC in 2025.
According to Daron Roberts, a former college football coach and founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at the University of Texas at Austin, the switch won’t significantly affect most of the schools’ student-athletes.
“You’ll be able to say that you’re in the top – what many people perceive to be – the top football conference,” Roberts said. “I think it’s uncertain what sort of benefit this will be to athletes beyond college football as it relates to the other sports.”
UT’s athletic department is expected to be able to make more money in the new conference, thanks largely to more lucrative media contracts. The department already one of the biggest moneymakers in college sports.
“Athletic departments function separately from the university,” Roberts said. “Just like a private company, I mean, they’re always in the hunt for more revenues.”
Roberts said the additional money could be used to upgrade the department’s infrastructure, coaching salaries, and scholarships.
“People will say, ‘Well, hey, what else can you build? We’ve got a new basketball arena coming down the pipe. We’ve got a football stadium.’ But you can always make your infrastructure more appealing to recruits,” Roberts said.