Officials from Texas and Oklahoma were not on the Big 12's call with its athletic directors and CEOs on Thursday, according to Brett McMurphy of Stadium.
Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported the call was to "discuss the future and contingencies."
That followed a report from Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday that the two schools had reached out to the SEC about potentially joining the conference.
Ross Dellenger @RossDellenger
Source described Texas and OU’s Big 12 exit as “not imminent,” but serious. The Texas Board of Regents is leading the charge.<br><br>“No one has real answers why,” source says.<br><br>Big 12 administrators believe Texas A&M officials learned of the plot through the Board.
“I think it’s going to happen, and it’s the beginning of a lot of dominoes,” a high-ranking college official told Thamel regarding Texas' and Oklahoma's potential conference defection.
Such a move could be the death blow for the Big 12, similar to the end of the Big East in football back in 2013. That started with Pittsburgh and Syracuse announcing they were leaving for the ACC in 2011, and the proverbial dominoes fell: TCU pulled out of the conference, West Virginia bolted to the Big 12, Louisville ended up in the ACC as well, and Rutgers went to the Big Ten.
The football schools that remained formed the American Athletic Conference with nine other schools. The basketball schools kept the Big East name and remained.
Texas and Oklahoma are the Big 12's largest draws, and their departure could signal a wave of departures from the conference.
One thing is for certain—Texas A&M will try to block the move:
Ross Dellenger @RossDellenger
Ross Bjork says he was unaware of Texas/OU interest in joining the SEC. SEC ADs have not discussed the issue, he says.<br><br>It's clear where the Aggies stand.<br><br>"There’s a reason why Texas A&M left the Big 12 - to be stand alone & have our own identity. That’s our feeling," he says.
"He's got his political machine in motion," an industry source told Thamel about Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp.
But as Thamel noted, Sharp will need to convince three more SEC schools to vote no against the addition of Texas and Oklahoma, and "the early feel around the SEC was that 13 of the 14 schools were on board with the move. "
The Big 12 will fight for its own survival. As Thamel reported, the conference would likely be "aggressive in adding schools" and would "knock on doors at Arizona and Arizona State. Perhaps it'll try and lure Colorado back and pry Utah. The Pac-12 is weak now, but the core of USC, Oregon, UCLA and Washington are all more attractive to be aligned with than any of the Big 12 schools."
He added that "Cincinnati, UCF, USF, BYU and Boise State [are] the most likely candidates from outside the state of Texas" for the conference.
But losing the conference's two flagship schools would make it just as likely that additional defections could follow, rather than high-profile additions. A major shift in the landscape of college athletics could be on the horizon.