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Report: Texas, Oklahoma Move to SEC 'Almost Done'; Could Come Next Week

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 23, 2021

Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Texas and Oklahoma are reportedly on the verge of finalizing their departure from the Big 12 to join the SEC.

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman reported Friday the joint move is "almost done" and could become official within a week.

"They've been working on this for a minimum of six months, and the [Texas] A&M leadership was left out of discussions and wasn't told about it," a source told Bohls.

Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel reported further details about the final steps:

Pete Thamel @PeteThamel

Sources add to <a href="https://twitter.com/YahooSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@YahooSports</a> there remains a strong confidence that Oklahoma and Texas still have the SEC votes, despite A&amp;M’s staunch objection.

Big 12 officials held a meeting Thursday night to discuss the sudden surge of speculation about the potential exit of Texas and Oklahoma, per ESPN's Heather Dinich and Mark Schlabach. Representatives for UT and OU declined to participate in the talks.

"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," the Big 12 said in a statement to ESPN.

Several questions remain unanswered about the schools' impending switch to the SEC.

Big 12 bylaws require 18 months' notice about a school's plan to leave the conference and include a "commitment buyout fee." The programs also signed a media agreement with the conference related to broadcast of its football and men's basketball content through June 30, 2025, per ESPN.

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The SEC would become a "super conference" with 16 high-profile programs if the moves are finalized.

A source told Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle the decision by Texas and Oklahoma could be an effort to get ahead of the curve with the potential to see four super conferences with 16 teams each that creates an even greater disparity between the "haves and have-nots" of college sports.

In addition, the recent changes related to student-athletes' name, image and likeness (NIL) rights have schools scrambling to put themselves in the best financial position to remain competitive in the new landscape.

"Athletic directors see the writing on the wall," a second source told Zwerneman. "They're MBAs and guys who were in advertising. They're not former coaches. They're looking to leverage whatever they can. Football is business and always has been. They just tried to hide it behind the shield of education."

The Big 12 would be reduced to eight programs if Texas and Oklahoma depart.

An exact timetable for their exit from conference competition is unclear. Andy Staples of The Athletic noted the schools are "prepared to wait" until the media agreements expire in 2025 if necessary, but a settlement could be worked out to accelerate the process.

Statements released by UT and OU provided no details, only saying they wouldn't address rumors about their futures.

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