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Big 12 Members React to Texas, Oklahoma Defections

Paul Steinbach

Big 12 members reacted to Monday's news that conference cornerstones Texas and Oklahoma do not intend to renew their grant of media rights agreements with the league once they expire in 2025.

Iowa State University president Wendy Wintersteen and athletic director Jamie Pollard issued a joint video statement late Monday in which Wintersteen says, in part, that they are committed to working together “to address the issues, to find the way forward, to support the department and to support our alums, our fans and our donors.

Related: Texas, Oklahoma Announce Intent to Leave Big 12

In a video titled “The Future of Cyclone Athletics,” Pollard adds, “I think it’s really important, though, that all Cyclone fans understand that it’s not a time to panic. Our industry is in a complete state of flux and, quite frankly, every institution should be evaluating where they are and how things are gonna look as this landscape continues to change.

"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 any time soon. 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."

Pollard concluded with the message that adversity is a part of life, and that Iowa State "thrives on turning lemons into lemonade."

Meanwhile, West Virginia University director of athletics and associate vice president Shane Lyons issued an equally optimistic-sounding statement that reads, in part, "We are focused on ensuring that we provide opportunities to elevate their academic and athletic experiences at WVU. However, in addition to our student-athletes, we also understand the impact this announcement has on our University, our state and our Mountaineer fans around the world. We will continue to be highly engaged and extremely diligent in finding connections that strengthen our academic mission and allow our student-athletes to thrive in one of the most successful athletics programs in the country."

It concludes, "As was stated earlier by the Big 12 Conference, athletics is an ever-changing landscape. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Big 12 and across the country to navigate this new terrain. Together, we will continue to Climb Higher!"

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