The Southeastern Conference’s Presidents and Chancellors unanimously voted to extend formal invitations to Texas and Oklahoma to join the conference Thursday, the SEC released in a statement.
“Today’s unanimous vote is both a testament to the SEC’s longstanding spirit of unity and mutual cooperation, as well as a recognition of the outstanding legacies of academic and athletic excellence established by the Universities of Oklahoma and Texas,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said. “I greatly appreciate the collective efforts of our Presidents and Chancellors in considering and acting upon each school’s membership interest.”
The vote comes just eight days after the Houston Chronicle reported the SEC and the Big 12’s two biggest athletic powers were in talks and three days after Texas and Oklahoma formally informed the Big 12 that they would not be renewing their grants of media following the 2025 season.
The news sent shockwaves across the intercollegiate landscape and has kicked off the first round of conference realignment since 2012.
Where do things go from here?
The American Athletic Conference is looking to poach the remaining eight Big 12 schools and all eight universities are looking for new homes. Without Texas and Oklahoma, the Big 12’s remaining eight schools won’t command much television money once its current deals with Fox and ESPN expire in 2025.
Texas and Oklahoma can’t leave the Big 12 until then without paying fines worth approximately $80 million. What happens when other Big 12 institutions announce plans to move conferences and the Big 12 dissolves is a major question.
It appears plausible, if not likely, that Texas and Oklahoma will formally join the SEC before 2025.
From the Southeastern Conference perspective, what does league realignment look like? Will the conference stay in two divisions or break into four pods? How do basketball and other sports schedules change with 16-teams now in college athletics’ primary conference?
These are major questions that remain unanswered and will keep Sankey busy in the coming months.
One thing is for sure, college sports just encountered a monumental change.