Texas and Oklahoma to SEC? Live news updates as Big 12 powers kick start conference realignment

The news cycle in college football has moved rapidly over the summer between College Football expansion and newly-implemented name, image and likeness rules. Nothing truly gets college football fans going like college football and conference realignment drama, however, and that's exactly what's been dropped in our laps this week. Texas and Oklahoma intend to announce their decision to leave the Big 12 in favor of a move to the SEC within the next "24-28 hours," sources tell CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd.

Citing "a high-ranking college official with knowledge of the situation," the Houston Chronicle's Brent Zwerneman was first to report on Wednesday that the SEC could announce the additions of the Longhorns and Sooners "within a couple of weeks." 

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, along with officials from Texas and Oklahoma, have all refused to comment on the initial reports, but there have been no outward denials. Smoke is only growing exponentially with each passing hour. This despite resistance from some tangential parties, namely Texas A&M (not wanting another Lone Star State team in the SEC) and Oklahoma State (not wanting to be left alone in the Big 12).

The additions of Texas and Oklahoma would make the SEC the first 16-team superconference while simultaneously adding massive brand power to a league already seen as the best in college sports. Whether these programs leave now or leave for the SEC specifically, their departure from the Big 12 appears inevitable. CBS Sports will continue covering this developing story with live updates below.

Live updates
(26)
See New Posts
Pinned

Big 12 meets with OU, Texas

As we seemingly inch closer toward Oklahoma and Texas making their eventual exit from the Big 12 Conference official, the league's board of directors met with Oklahoma president Joe Harroz and Texas president Jay Hartzell on Sunday. Commissioner Bob Bowlsby released the following statement recapping the call: 

"The meeting was cordial, and the Executive Committee expressed a willingness to discuss proposals that would strengthen the Conference and would be mutually beneficial to OU and UT, as well as other member institutions of the Conference," Bowlsby said. "I expect that we will continue our conversations in the days ahead and we look forward to discussing thoughts, ideas and concepts that may be of shared interest and impact."

July 25, 2021, 11:31 PM
Pinned

Big 12 making last-ditch efforts

No one can say that the Big 12 is going down without a fight as its two most powerful programs get set for greener pastures. In one of the last-ditch efforts by the Big 12 to keep Texas and Oklahoma in the fold, league officials have discussed potential structures which would see the Longhorns and Sooners receive extra revenue should they ultimately decide to stay in the conference, according to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd

July 24, 2021, 10:26 PM
Pinned

A&M brass issue statements

Saturday afternoon, Texas A&M president Katherine Banks released a statement on the possibility of the SEC expanding. 

"The last few days have been challenging in many ways, and I recognize that change in college athletics is often unsettling for those who love their institutions," Banks said. "Rest assured, the chancellor, our athletic director, and I, and everyone involved in this matter are focused solely on what is best for Texas A&M University. Since 2011, we have been a proud member of the best intercollegiate athletic sports conference in history and we look forward to continued success in our SEC partnership for many years to come." 

Additionally, Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork issued the following statement to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. 

"The culture of any conference, but especially for A&M, that's the priority in this whole conversation," Bjork said. "I've been in the league 10 years. When I first sat down and met Mike Slive, it was about culture and collaboration, excellence on and off the field. That's what makes us the best conference. We've got to protect that.

"Look at A&M, We're stronger than ever. … Look at the landscape of college athletics. Who wouldn't want to join the SEC? Here in Texas, we've been able to pave the way. … Whoever joins, whenever they join, we're ready. We embrace it at the highest level. That's how we look at this.

"There is emotion, we get it. We're in a great state; we're in the best conference."

July 24, 2021, 9:39 PM
Pinned

AAC looking to poach Big 12 leftovers

While one reading of what's next for the Big 12 after the departure of Texas and Oklahoma has included picking up new members from the American Athletic Conference, it's possible the hunters will become the hunted and the AAC is going to make a move to add the remaining teams to its existing lineup. The Athletic is reporting that the AAC is expected to "act as an aggressor" and attempt to pick up remaining Big 12 teams, "perhaps as a group."

Pinned

A&M staying put

Considering the verbiage within the announcement that revealed the Texas A&M Board of Regents would be holding a meeting on Monday, some have wildly speculated the Aggies may consider leaving the conference as Texas and Oklahoma enter. That doesn't seem to be the case, however, as Brent Zwerneman, who originally broke the news regarding the Longhorns and Sooners flirting with the SEC, was told on Saturday that there's "zero chance" Texas A&M will attempt to find a home elsewhere. 

July 24, 2021, 2:51 PM
Pinned

Texas A&M meeting

The plot thickens as it pertains to the Aggies' opposition to their old Big 12 rivals joining the SEC. According to a release from the school on Friday night, the Texas A&M Board of Regents will conduct a meeting on Monday at 5 p.m. CT to discuss "possible action on contractual and governance issues relating to Texas A&M University and the Southeastern Conference." 

Translation: If you have yet to grab the popcorn, do so over the weekend. 

July 24, 2021, 2:17 AM
Pinned

Oklahoma State's president chimes in

It's safe to say that the decision-makers at Oklahoma State are not fans of Oklahoma's reported move to the SEC. President Kayse Shrum released a scathing statement on Friday afternoon addressing the potential move.

"We are disappointed by the lack of engagement and transparency from our colleagues at OU over the past months on a matter with serious ramifications for our state," she wrote. "We have historically worked together to advance our state and address issues based on a partnership built on trust. To that end, we will continue to work with purpose to the advancement of our state and the betterment of our fellow Oklahomans. In the ever-changing college athletic landscape, we will honor our values and ethics as we consider the next steps. Our commitment to our student-athletes is top of mind, and their best interests will be represented prominently. We enjoy a proud athletic heritage with more National Championships than any other Big 12 university, and we will aggressively pursue the opportunities ahead. Additionally, our university enjoys a great brand known for education, research, and service, and we will move forward with strength."

Pinned

Legislation is being introduced

Members of the Texas House of Representatives have filed a bill that, if passed, will require legislative approval for any state school to move conferences. House chairmen Dustin Burrows, Greg Bonnen, Charlie Green and Jeff Leach filed House bill 298, which they urge to be addressed immediately. Will it matter? Reports say that Texas and Oklahoma will officially deliver their letters announcing their intent to leave the Big 12 as early as next week. If that's the case, lawmakers better be working through the weekend if they intend to put a halt to this ever-evolving saga.

Pinned

Baylor releases a statement

Baylor's athletic future is uncertain, but it knows that it has to do something in order to maintain its current status. The school released a statement from president Linda A. Livingstone and athletic director Mack Rhoades that addresses concerns that have been flooding in from Bears fans and boosters.

"Rest assured, we, along with the Board of Regents, members of the Baylor delegation in the Texas Legislature and other Baylor leaders, are actively engaged in conversations with our Big 12 colleagues and others to ensure our University is in the strongest position possible now and into the future," part of the statement read.

You can read the open letter in its entirety here.

Pinned

Old rivalries renewed

CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd reported Friday that, if Oklahoma and Texas do join the SEC, two rivalries will be renewed. Texas A&M would rekindle its intra-state rivalry with Texas and will play former Big 12/SWC rival Oklahoma every year. What does that mean for the current SEC divisions? That remains to be seen. But if the conference is set on getting those rivalries back, you can bet on rivalries among current members to be preserved.

Pinned

Vote update

As has been noted throughout the saga, both Texas and Oklahoma will need a majority vote from the current members of the SEC in order to join the league. According to Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman, that vote by the SEC members is expected to take place sometime next week with the outcome expected to be "13-1." Many can, of course, take an educated guess as to who the "1" vote will be...

July 23, 2021, 5:57 PM
Pinned

Texas, OU could wait until grant of rights expires

CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd reports that OU and Texas are expected to declare their intentions to leave the Big 12 in as soon as "24-48 hours," citing a prominent Big 12 source. Horns247's Chip Brown reports that the Longhorns and Sooners are set to inform the Big 12 on Monday that they will not be renewing their grant of rights agreement with the conference. 

However, a timeline of when the two powerhouse schools might leave the league remains unclear. Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger reports that both OU and Texas are "prepared to wait until their grant of rights expires in 2025 to join the SEC," which would allow them to avoid paying the $80 million exit fee. That timeline could shift if their Big 12 exits lead to the league dissolving, which would likely expedite their jump to the SEC, Dellenger adds.

"I still think there is a clarity in terms of timing. If it's [finalized] in a week or two, and it's for next year, both of those institutions are going to owe the Big 12 a lot of money," the source told CBS Sports. "The lack of clarity and timing of this [is key]. When? How?"

July 23, 2021, 4:24 PM
Pinned

More confirmation Texas, OU are out

Chip Brown of Horns247 reported Friday that the two Big 12 power are indeed leaving the conference. Citing a source, Brown says that the Longhorns and Sooners will not renew their grant of rights deal with the Big 12 when that agreement expires in 2025. Grant of rights is the agreement between each school and the conference that allows the league to determine television contracts.

"In this changing landscape of college athletics, this is what's best (for Texas and Oklahoma)," the source told Brown.

As you can tell from the updates below, things are moving quickly in this process. Texas and Oklahoma are expected to officially inform the conference of their plans in the near future.

Pinned

When did Texas/OU decide to depart? 

Since it was reported earlier this week that Texas and Oklahoma had decided to leave the Big 12 Conference, one of the questions on everyone's minds has been: when exactly was this decision made? Brett McMurphy of Stadium may have the answer to that as he reported on Friday that the two powers made the decision to bolt back in late-December/early-January. The Sooners and Longhorns made the decision together, as expected, though the SEC was not the specific target destination at the time. 

July 23, 2021, 2:35 PM
Pinned

Texas/Oklahoma to SEC in a week?

To update where things stand with Oklahoma and Texas after Thursday night's meeting of Big 12 brass (without OU/UT represented): there are a couple of reports circulating Friday morning suggesting the move could essentially be done within the next week. Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman reported that the move is "almost done," citing a source. Bohls reported the move could be official within a week.

Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports also noted Friday morning that Texas and Oklahoma are expected to start the process of joining the SEC "next week." He also noted that the ACC and others have inquired to Texas and Oklahoma. Both Bohls and Thamel note that the OU/UT flirtation with the SEC has been going on for quite a while, though, and it's not hard to see why the SEC would be the most attractive landing place for UT/OU.

This thing isn't going away, and the ramifications are going to be significant. Will the remaining Big 12 schools look to make jumps to the Pac-12/Big Ten/ACC? The long-discussed potential for four "super conferences" to emerge feels plausible. If things start trending in that direction, how will it impact the proposed expansion of the CFP? The format most often discussed has been one in which the top six conference champions get automatic bids. But what if there are only four "power" conferences? Would they go back to the drawing board on CFP expansion? All things to keep an eye on as this proceeds.

July 23, 2021, 2:09 PM
Pinned

Big 12 officials meet without Texas/OU

Big 12 administrators met late Thursday afternoon to discuss the developments but representatives from Oklahoma and Texas did not participate in the call, according to multiple reports. Ross Dellenger of SI reported that the next step will be a group of Big 12 presidents connected with leadership at OU and Texas for more insight. But for now, the Big 12 released a statement that reads as follows:

Oklahoma and Texas are founding members of the Big 12 and we value their traditions and history of success.

-          The eight members strongly desire to retain the current composition, which has proven it can compete at the highest levels.

-          There is a recognition that institutions may act in their own self-interest, however there is an expectation that members adhere to Conference bylaws and the enforcement of Grant of Rights agreements.

-          This is a time of dramatic change within intercollegiate athletics that presents both opportunities and challenges, and the Big 12 Conference looks forward to continuing to play a major role in its evolution.

July 23, 2021, 1:35 AM
Pinned

Potential Big 12 fallout should UT, OU leave

If Texas and Oklahoma do make an official move in the direction away from the Big 12 to join the SEC, some around the industry are already starting to suggest it would be a landscape-shifting event on the scale of the Supreme Court's 1984 decision that allowed schools and conferences to make their own media rights deals instead of going through the NCAA.

Yahoo! Sports' Pete Thamel writes that we should expect the Big 12 to "be aggressive in adding schools," should the Longhorns and Sooners be on the way out. And who gets a call depends on how big the conference wants to get. Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah, Cincinnati, UCF, USF, BYU and Boise State were all mentioned in his afternoon update, with a note that Houston and SMU could be attractive candidates though Baylor and Texas Tech might oppose more in-state competition.

One line of thinking seems to be that the Big 12 would be on the ropes without its two primary brands, but this report indicates more of a domino and food chain effect then marking the end of the conference as we know it. Of course, those potential candidates would have to say yes and be swayed to join a league that's going to head into media rights negotiations (hypothetically) in a much different state.

Pinned

Cover 3 talks Texas, Oklahoma to SEC

Pinned

Big 12 presidents meeting Thursday

The SEC presidents are meeting on Thursday and will likely discuss the possibility of expansion, and now several Big 12 leaders are following suit. CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd reports that Big 12 athletic directors and CEOs will meet at 5 p.m. CT specifically to discuss the news that Oklahoma and Texas could be departing the league.

At this point, it's clear that wheels are spinning on this story faster than a the wheels on a Formula 1 car. It's a fair assumption that, if Texas and Oklahoma are involved, that they will be peppered with questions from their peers. If they aren't, expect multiple plans to save the conference to be developed.

Pinned

Making sense of the politics involved

Ten years ago, during the last round of realignment, it was rumored that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were required by law to stay together in the same conference. That's apparently not the case. Pistols Firing reports that it's more of a "gentleman's agreement" between the two schools, not something that is actually on the books.

Now that it's clear that there's plenty of fire to the rumor that Oklahoma and Texas are eyeballing the SEC, it was only a matter of time before the politicians get involved. That time is now. Texas State Representative Jeff Leach (R-67), posted on Twitter that he is drawing up documents that would force Texas' decision to leave the Big 12 to go through the state legislature,

"The lack of transparency by our flagship institution is wrong," Leach wrote. "Such a monumental economic and educational decision impacting the entire state must not be made in a bubble on the forty acres. Working on legislation requiring legislative approval for UT to bolt the BIG XII. #txlege"

Pinned

SEC presidents are meeting Thursday 

Dennis Dodd and I have been chasing SEC commissioner Greg Sankey around the halls of the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover for the last 24 hours trying to get something other than "we're focused on the 2021 season." That hasn't happened yet. With that said, Billy Liucci of TexAgs reports that a big meeting has been moved up. 

SEC presidents have been scheduled to meet during SEC Media Days all along, and apparently that meeting is happening today. I'm sure there are several topics to discuss, but it's safe to assume that expansion will be the hottest topic of conversation now that the story leaked out. Expansion will ultimately be decided on by the presidents, so there could be a lot happening behind closed doors either here in Hoover or up the road at the SEC office in downtown Birmingham.

Pinned

Why is this happening now?

University of Texas regents chair Kevin Eltife is behind the pitch, sources tell CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. Eltife is a 62-year-old commercial real estate investor in Tyler, Texas, who served in the Texas Senate from 2004-13. He was appointed as a regent to the UT system by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in 2019.

The Longhorns initiated these conversations with the SEC, and it's been reported that they may inform the Big 12 of their decision not to renew their grant of rights agreement with the league as soon as next week. Whether that will happen -- or whether the Sooners will do so simultaneously -- remains to be seen. The Big 12 grant of rights agreement ends in 2025.

With Texas and Oklahoma, the SEC could conceivably go from a $44 million per team annual payout to $60 million, largely due to television rights, according to Dodd.

Pinned

Passage may be tough ... or maybe not

SEC by-laws state that 11 of 14 member institutions must vote in the affirmative to invite new universities into the conference. There may be some current SEC teams -- in addition to Texas A&M -- that are reluctant to accept additional league members for myriad reasons, including concerns about future expansion into their states. However, Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel reports that "getting 11 of the 14 votes doesn't appear to be an issue" if Texas and Oklahoma ultimately do want to join the SEC.

Pinned

Texas A&M, Oklahoma State will have their say

Texas A&M hopes to maintain its stranglehold on the Lone Star State within the SEC by holding off Texas from entering, while Oklahoma State is worried what will happen to the Big 12 and its place in the college athletics landscape if Oklahoma departs for greener pastures. Both programs have a significant interest in keeping a move from happening, though they may ultimately be powerless in preventing the inevitable.

Aggies athletic director Ross Bjork made his stance clear Wednesday. "I haven't read the article, but if you're asking me to kind of comment on college athletics, it's changing," Bjork told CBS Sports. "So what does that look like? I don't know. ... We want to be the only SEC program in the state of Texas. There's a reason Texas A&M left the Big 12: to stand alone to have our own identity."

The Cowboys also stand in clear opposition with the following statement. "We have heard unconfirmed reports that OU and UT approached Southeastern Conference officials about joining the SEC. We are gathering information and will monitor closely. If true, we would be gravely disappointed. While we place a premium on history, loyalty and trust, be assured, we will aggressively defend and advance what is best for Oklahoma State and our strong athletic program, which continues to excel in the Big 12 and nationally."

Pinned

No denials, plenty of no comments

As this story broke right in the middle of SEC Media Days, league commissioner Greg Sankey was in position to confirm or deny the reports. He did neither. "No comment on that speculation," he told CBS Sports. Sankey later added: "We are only worried about the 2021 season. Somebody dropped a report from unnamed people."

Texas and Oklahoma issued almost identical statements. "Speculation swirls around collegiate athletics. We will not address rumors or speculation," said the Longhorns. "The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly. We don't address every anonymous rumor," said the Sooners.

Pinned

Texas, Oklahoma inquire about SEC

The Longhorns and Sooners have reached out to the SEC about leaving the Big 12 and joining the nation's most powerful conference, sources tell CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. Citing "a high-ranking college official with knowledge of the situation," the Houston Chronicle's Brent Zwerneman first reported Wednesday that the SEC could announce the additions of the Longhorns and Sooners "within a couple of weeks." Yes, things may move that quickly. Whether they will is another thing altogether.

Changing conferences is a complicated task that will not only come down to preferences of the programs but also money. OU and UT are locked into the Big 12's grant of rights allowing the conference to control the television product of its games through 2025. The SEC would also have to vote in the affirmative to add the programs in the first place.