Source: OU/Texas Exit is Imminent; Expected to Be Official Early Next Week
It’s happening. The future has arrived — and college athletics will never look the same.
An OU source confirmed to SI Sooners on Friday that Oklahoma and Texas are indeed eager to leave the Big 12 Conference and are actively seeking membership in the Southeastern Conference.
The source said that could begin happening on Monday.
Big 12 presidents and athletic directors met via conference call on Thursday evening, and representatives of OU and UT declined to attend, the source said, because the league’s two power brokers have already decided to leave the Big 12 and will formally begin the process next week.
After the meeting, the Big 12 released a bullet-point statement.
- “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.”
Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman reported Friday that a prominent Big 12 source told him the move to the SEC is “almost done.” A source confirmed to SI Sooners that their exit was close.
Bohls and Stadium college football insider Brett McMurphy both reported that OU and Texas have actually been working on an exit strategy for a while now — up to 6-7 months.
McMurphy reported a source told him that OU and Texas “have been in lockstep the whole time” and had previously decided they were leaving the Big 12, but “it was just figuring out where.”
Bohls reported his source told him that while OU and Texas have been brokering with the SEC, leadership at Texas A&M was “left out of the discussions and wasn’t told about it.” Aggies athletic director Ross Bjork told reporters at SEC Media Days this week that A&M did not want to be in a conference with Texas again.
Formal proceedings that will open the door for Oklahoma and Texas to leave are expected to begin as soon as Monday, a source told SI Sooners.
Multiple outlets have reported and an SI Sooners source confirmed that the Sooners and Longhorns will tell the Big 12 next week that they do not intend to accept the league’s offer to extend the binding grant of media rights for five years, which was reported Thursday by Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman. After that, they will petition the SEC for membership.
However, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported Friday that it could happen within “24-48 hours.”
Their timeline for OU and UT joining the SEC is murky, but will likely include negotiations, legal wrangling over contracts and buyouts, a source said. It could happen as soon as 2022 or as late as 2025 (when the current TV contracts and grant of rights expire), although somewhere in the middle is more likely, a source said.
Chip Brown of Horns247, also citing an unnamed source, reported that OU and Texas “could move quickly” also said both schools a prepared to wait out the full term of the current grant of rights if necessary.
While OU and Texas have orchestrated their landing spot, the future is dark for the rest of the Big 12.
TCU insider Jeremy Clark reported Friday that TCU, Baylor and Texas Tech have already reached out to the Pac-12.
It’s also been reported on Twitter that Kansas has reached out to the Big Ten, although that hasn't been reported by any traditional media outlets.
Oklahoma State issued a statement Wednesday saying the school would be “gravely disappointed” if OU and Texas leave, but OSU has been otherwise silent.
SI's Ross Dellinger reported Friday that SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has kept SEC presidents informed, but said the league can now "immediately take action after UT/OU notify the Big 12 of (their) exit and summit an application for membership."
OU and Texas would both need 11 of 14 votes, and Dellinger said only Texas A&M seems opposed to the move.