McMurphy: Texas, Oklahoma Agree to Leave Big 12 and Will Apply to Join SEC

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2021

Oklahoma Sooners running back Trey Sermon (4) tries to avoid a tackle by Texas Longhorns safety B.J. Foster (25) during the second half of the NCAA Big 12 Conference football championship, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. Oklahoma defeated Texas 39-27. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
Roger Steinman/Associated Press

The University of Texas and University of Oklahoma announced Monday they've informed the Big 12 they will not renew their media rights agreements with the conference after 2025, the first concrete sign they're planning to leave the conference.  

Stadium's Brett McMurphy provided the schools' joint statement and reported the next step will be applying for SEC membership:

Brett McMurphy @Brett_McMurphy

Oklahoma & Texas make it official: they’re leaving conference & expected to apply for SEC membership https://t.co/65h35M18OF

The Big 12 later issued a statement on Texas and Oklahoma's planned exit, via Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic:

Nicole Auerbach @NicoleAuerbach

Big 12 statement: https://t.co/HNG2NTk9GO

Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday that Texas and Oklahoma had reached out to the SEC about joining the conference.

On Friday, Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman reported that a source said the move was almost done, adding: "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."

The Big 12 said in a statement Thursday: "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."

According to ESPN's Heather Dinich and Mark Schlabach, Big 12 athletic directors, presidents and chancellors held a videoconference Thursday to discuss the rumored departure of Texas and Oklahoma, but both Texas and Oklahoma declined to participate.

Per Dinich and Schlabach, Big 12 bylaws state any school planning to move to a new conference must provide notice 18 months in advance. It also must pay a large "commitment buyout fee."

Although the timing of Texas and Oklahoma's move to the SEC remains uncertain, their expected addition will turn it into a 16-team super-conference, while the Big 12 will be left with only eight teams.

Options to replace Texas and Oklahoma in the Big 12 include poaching teams from other power conferences or taking in some of the top Group of Five or FBS independent football programs like Houston, Cincinnati, UCF and BYU.

With the impending move, Texas' 25-year run in the Big 12 will end. Oklahoma was also in the Big 12 from its infancy in 1996, but its membership dates back to the Big Six in 1928.

The Big 12 will lose its two biggest programs, whose football teams have won 17 conference titles and two national titles since 1996.