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Reports: Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners Looking to Move to the SEC

July 21, 2021

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ATHENS - The Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners could be changing conferences - perhaps coming to the SEC - and change the landscape of college athletics once more. 

According to a report from the Houston Chronicle, "Texas and Oklahoma of the Big 12 have both reached out to the Southeastern Conference about potentially joining the powerful league, a high-ranking official with knowledge of the situation told the Houston Chronicle.”

Official reaction from around the SEC would not confirm the news. 

“I don’t have any comment on that speculation,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told the Dallas Morning News

As expected, the powers that be at Texas A&M were negative about any move of their former rivals joining the league they left the Big 12 for in 2012. 

“We want to be the only SEC team from the State of Texas,” A&M AD Ross Bjork told Sports Illustrated. “There’s a reason why Texas A&M left the Big 12 - to be stand alone and have our own identity. That’s our feeling”

SI further reported that Bjork was “unaware of the Texas-Oklahoma interested in the SEC.” The outlet further reported that SEC athletic directors have not discussed the issue - although it must be pointed out that athletic directors would not first discuss the matter. That would begin at the presidential or even board level. 

The Houston Chronicle reported that Texas and Oklahoma’s move to the SEC could be announced “within a couple of weeks.” reported Wednesday that “Texas and Oklahoma had already taken steps to facilitate a possible move and the desired landing place should both leave the Big 12 is the SEC.” The Big 12 has a long and uneasy past. It is the only major conference without its own conference television network. 

Despite what would be very serious objections from A&M, no one school could block a move of new institutions into the SEC. Conference bylaws stipulate that 75% of current members must vote in favor of adding new institutions. That means three or four institutions (depending on rounding) could block the alleged move. The notion that 13 SEC schools would not bring in both Texas and Oklahoma to form a superconefence because one school wouldn’t like it is naive according to insiders. 

It remains to be seen what LSU, a longtime institution, would feel about the addition of the two schools. Missouri and Arkansas would likely be in favor of the move for a slew of reasons not limited to travel and money.  

The addition Texas and Oklahoma into the SEC might be hard for the SEC to pass up. TV revenue will be on the rise in the SEC in 2024 when a new deal with Disney begins. The addition of two powerhouses like the Horns and Sooners would mean the ability to create even more TV revenue possibilities. 

Reporting has the SEC earning more than $300 million a year with the new TV contract - a massive jump. 

A possible Texas-Oklahoma move would also mean the SEC would become the first 16-member power conference - giving the league the ability to have two eight-team divisions in football. Those two division winners would meet in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. The addition of those two teams would very possibly mean the SEC would push from an eight-game conference slate to a nine-game season - giving TV more inventory to choose from. 

Getting the Horns and Sooners, perhaps a tough pill for some in the league to swallow, would have to be countered with the zero-sum game that is college sports. If the duo didn’t leave for the SEC they could certainly bolt for the ACC or Big Ten - bolstering those leagues at the expense of the SEC.

For Georgia the move could rid the Bulldogs of their every-other-year trip to Missouri, but bring both Alabama and Auburn into the SEC East. The addition of A&M and Missouri in 2012 means programs like Georgia and Alabama have only met twice in regular season games since the SEC expansion.

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