NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma and Texas took another step toward the SEC Tuesday.
In another joint statement, both universities said they have formally requested membership into the Southeastern Conference beginning July 1, 2025. The Big 12’s grant-of-rights agreement expires June 30, 2025.
“We believe that there would be mutual benefit to the universities on one hand, and the SEC on the other hand, for the universities to become members of the SEC,” the statement reads.
Both universities also released a joint statement Monday announcing their plans to not renew the Big 12’s grant-of-rights agreement.
OU also announced Tuesday that its board of regents will hold a special meeting Friday to “consider athletics conference membership.” The OU regents will be joined by President Joe Harroz and Athletic Director Joe Castiglione. The University of Texas’ board of regents will also hold a special meeting Friday.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement on Twitter Tuesday regarding the request from OU and Texas, referring to both universities as “esteemed academic institutions with storied athletics programs.”
“While the SEC has not proactively sought new members, we will pursue significant change when there is a clear consensus among our members that such actions will further enrich the expectations of our student-athletes and lead to greater academic and athletic achievement across our campuses,” Sankey wrote.
He also noted that the presidents and chancellors of each SEC school will consider these requests “in the near future.” Eleven of the 14 current members would need to vote to extend membership invitations to OU and Texas.
According to Big 12 bylaws, a school must give 18 months notice prior to leaving the conference, which would put OU and Texas on track to play their first season in the SEC before the 2023-2024 season, if they choose. However, the bylaws note that an earlier withdrawal date can be established at the discretion of a supermajority of other Big 12 schools, making it possible for OU and Texas to negotiate an earlier exit date. Leaving the conference before 2025 would require both schools to pay out an estimated fee of $75 million each.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement: “The events of recent days have verified that the two schools have been contemplating and planning for the transition for months and this formal application is the culmination of those processes. We are unwavering in the belief that the Big 12 provides an outstanding platform for its members’ athletic and academic success. We will face the challenges head-on, and have confidence that the Big 12 will continue to be a vibrant and successful entity in the near term and into the foreseeable future.”
OU Head Coach Lincoln Riley spoke at a luncheon Tuesday in Norman, but did not address the move to the SEC., and didn’t take questions from the media. However, in an op-ed piece for The Oklahoman on Tuesday, former OU Coach Bob Stoops expressed support for the move.
“Let’s set the record straight: OU’s move to the SEC is what’s best for Oklahoma,” Stoops wrote. “... By joining the SEC, we ensure the state’s flagship university will be represented nationally while protecting our rich football history for many years to come. To move forward in any other manner would be to the detriment of OU and the state of Oklahoma.”