Less than a week after it was reported that an early departure from the Big 12 was unlikely, Oklahoma and Texas have reached an agreement with the league to break up early and join the SEC for the 2024 season. That lines up with the timeline for USC and UCLA to leave the Pac-12 and debut in the Big Ten.

Oklahoma and Texas will owe the Big 12 a combined $100 million as an exit fee, set to be made up by withheld distributable revenues. According to SI’s Ross Dellenger, much of that exit fee is expected to be distributed to the 8 Big 12 legacy universities to offset an expected decrease in their 2024 conference revenue.

Dellenger also reported that networks ESPN and FOX played a key role in the early departure — ESPN owns exclusive rights to the SEC in 2024, and with OU and Texas joining the league, FOX stood to lose crucial inventory — but Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark helped to push the compromise across the finish line, allowing the Big 12 to move on.

“As I have consistently stated, the Conference would only agree to an early withdrawal if it was in our best interest for Oklahoma and Texas to depart prior to June 30, 2025,” Yormark said in a release from the Big 12. “By reaching this agreement, we are now able to accelerate our new beginning as a 12-team league and move forward in earnest with our initiatives and future planning. I appreciate the approaches of OU President Joe Harroz and UT President Jay Hartzell to ensure an amicable conclusion to this process, and look forward to the bright days ahead for the Big 12 Conference.”

The news comes at an interesting time for the Pac-12.

With commissioner George Kliavkoff in Dallas to meet with SMU this week, attention in the Conference of Champions has focused on expansion candidates of late.

But the topic du jour remains a media rights deal that is still being negotiated by Kliavkoff. And The Athletic reported on Thursday the Pac-12 could be looking at less money on the next deal than Kliavkoff was hoping for.

Both fronts are connected for the league. Expansion is being fueled by the media rights negotiations; the Pac-12 needs attractive inventory to offer, and more is better. But there remains no public deal.

And now the Big 12 — with Yormark leading the charge after successfully completing his own league’s media deal and negotiating a win-win departure for the SEC-bound schools — can turn its entire attention to something new. Poaching a few more members? The league has long had reported interest in Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah.