In the early 1980s, Oklahoma and Georgia partnered in a lawsuit challenging the NCAA's monopoly on college football TV contract negotiations.
The suit reached the United States Supreme Court, which ruled 7-2 against the NCAA and opened the door for universities and conferences to negotiate their own media rights agreements.
In the years following, Georgia's Southeastern Conference used its new freedom to eventually sign landmark agreements with CBS and ESPN that drastically increased its national exposure and filled its coffers.
Oklahoma's conference, meanwhile, expanded from eight to 12 teams, then back to 10, while nearly imploding on more than one occasion.
Here's a timeline looking at the big moments in major college football's media rights history:
1952-1983: The NCAA served as the sole bargaining agent for all college football television rights. Teams weren't allowed more than six national appearances every two years, and the NCAA decided which games would be regionally and nationally broadcast.
1977: The College Football Association was formed, comprised of 63 schools seeking to control their own television rights. Between 1980 and 1997, when the association collapsed, it was led by executive director Chuck Neinas, the former Big Eight commissioner who served as interim Big 12 commissioner from 2011-12.
June 27, 1984: The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Oklahoma and Georgia, saying that institutions owned their television rights and that the NCAA's television contracts violated federal antitrust laws.
The NCAA's contract with ABC, CBS and ESPN was immediately void, and the College Football Association began negotiating television deals for its member institutions.
Oklahoma, which had appeared on television an average of 2.1 times per season between 1952 and 1983, made nine television appearances in 1984.
1990: Notre Dame signs a five-year, $30 million television contract with NBC, becoming the CFA's first defector.
February 1994: The SEC announces it will leave the CFA after the 1995 season after signing a five-year agreement with CBS. According to terms of the deal, CBS will televise 12 regular-season SEC games each season, with each team guaranteed at least one appearance.
The SEC's deal was worth about $17 million per season for football rights, which wasn't all that much more than the league would've made had it stayed with the CFA.
“The money wasn't the issue,” then-Tennessee athletic director Doug Dickey said at the time. “The exposure and the money together made it the best package. “
A short while later, the SEC negotiated a deal with ESPN to nationally broadcast more of its games in primetime. All of a sudden, the SEC was appearing regularly on two national networks while other leagues scrambled to keep up.
2008: The SEC and CBS agree to their most recent broadcast rights extension, which pays the conference a staggering average of $55 million per year through the 2023-24 season.
The league also renewed its cable-rights deal with ESPN that year. The 15-year contract guaranteed the SEC a total of $2.25 billion.
2011: After years of splitting its television revenue unevenly — giving more of the pie to teams that made the most TV appearances — the Big 12 agrees to switch to a more equal revenue sharing model.
The SEC has long distributed its television revenue equally, allowing schools like Mississippi State and Vanderbilt the ability to keep up with Alabama and LSU, not only in the national exposure from the league's CBS contract, but also in terms of facilities and coach salaries.
Aug. 26, 2011: The Longhorn Network debuts. ESPN and the University of Texas embark on their 20-year, $300 million venture that becomes a hot-button issue for the unstable Big 12 Conference.
Texas A&M bolted for the SEC largely because of the new network, and the Big 12's perceived instability also caused Missouri to bolt for the SEC.
2012: The Big 12 approves a 13-year television contract with ESPN and FOX, increasing its number of guaranteed national football telecasts to 25 per season.
The deal includes a minimum of six games nationally broadcast over-the-air each year on FOX, allowing the Big 12 to have some of what the SEC has had since 1996 with its CBS deal.
2013: The SEC and ESPN announce the creation of an SEC Network. The deal adds 10 years to the current SEC-ESPN contract.
The 24-hour SEC Network is set to launch before the 2014 season and will be wholly owned and operated by ESPN.