AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University Athletic Director Jamie Pollard urged Cyclones fans to remain calm Monday night, just hours after Big 12 heavyweights Texas and Oklahoma notified the conference that they would not be renewing an agreement that binds the league's members through 2025.
Officials with Texas and Oklahoma made their intent to leave the Big 12 official Tuesday morning, as presidents Jay Hartzell of Texas and Joseph Harroz Jr. of Oklahoma emailed a letter Tuesday to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey requesting invitations to the conference, effective July 1, 2025.
"I know it was very disappoitning and concerning for you to hear the annuncmeents from the Unviersity of Oklahoma dn teh Universit yof Texas about their decision to not continue to have the Big 12 Conference grant of media rights once the current agreement ends in 2025."
"I understand as a leader of our great institution how important the Big 12 Conference and our athletics program is to the university," school president Wendy Wintersteen said in the video. "It's important to the student and community experience. A thriving athletics program at IowaStaet University helps the university grow and helps with overall support."
Pollard said he wanted Iowa State supporters to understand that, despite the positions of the Longhorns and Sooners, it’s not a time to panic about the school's athletic future.
"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 this landscape continues to change," Pollard said.
"I also encourage our fans, although it’s fun and it’s interesting to get caught up in all the rumors, this is one more time where taking a step back and having patience and understanding that this is not going to be solved anytime soon," he added. "The next four years will be a long, bumpy and challenging road for everybody in college athletics. Not just Iowa State. Not just the Big 12. But the entire industry.”
This is the second time in a decade the Cyclones' future has been placed into question because of conference realignment.
The Big 12 lost Nebraska to the Big Ten in 2011. Missouri and Texas A&M subsequently left for the Southeastern Conference, and Colorado bolted for the Pac-12.
The league responded by adding West Virginia and Texas Christian University (TCU), and it appeared to be on solid ground until the Longhorns and the Sooners shocked its fellow members by requesting a move to the SEC.
“We’ve been down this path before with conference realignment. We found our way through all the challenges of COVID last year, and I’m convinced we’ll find our way through this latest set of challenges,” Pollard said. “At Iowa State, we thrive trying to make lemonade out of lemons, and I don’t see this being any different."
Watch the full video below
The Associated Press contributed to this report