The Southeastern Conference voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to invite the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Oklahoma to join their 14-member league during a meeting with the league member’s presidents and chancellors.
“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,” Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “I greatly appreciate the collective efforts of our Presidents and Chancellors in considering and acting upon each school’s membership interest.”
Meanwhile, UT and OU could see their revenue climb significantly through the move from television revenue, ticket revenue and additional branding opportunities.
The decision may also tie into a Supreme Court ruling last month that says athletes can earn money based on their intellectual property, meaning flagship schools must find new ways to earn revenue.
Although UT and OU said in their letter to [Big XII Commissioner Bob] Bowlsby that they don’t plan to renew their deal with the conference past 2025, there is speculation that the two schools would not be bound by the Big 12’s contract if the conference dissolves before 2025. They would need to pay a penalty of more than $75 million for leaving the league early, but are still legally required to give 18 months’ notice, per Big 12 bylaws.
“I have every expectation that Oklahoma and Texas will do whatever they can to not meet their [contractual] obligations,” Bowlsby told CBS Sports. “That’s what they’ve done so far.”
After two closed session meetings this week, the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents voted late Wednesday afternoon to support Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC, despite concerns the Board had over the “communication process.” A&M joined the SEC from the Big 12 a decade ago.
“The board concluded that this expansion would enhance the long-term value of the SEC to student athletes and all of the institutions they represent — including Texas A&M,” the statement read.
See here for the previous update, and see here for the story on the A&M Board of Regents getting on board, presumably once they realized the money involved. Put a pin in that quote from Bob Bowlsby, there will be more about him and the Big XII tomorrow. You know I believe that UT and OU will be playing SEC conference games well before 2025, but there may be more obstacles in that path than I first thought. The Chron has more.