Texas, Oklahoma Offered Invitation to Join SEC in 2025 After Big 12 Exit

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2021

Oklahoma helmets are pictured before the start of an NCAA college football game between Texas Tech and Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Associated Press

The Southeastern Conference voted unanimously to extend invitations to Texas and Oklahoma, the SEC announced on Thursday.

Southeastern Conference @SEC

NEWS | The @SEC Presidents & Chancellors voted unanimously Thursday to extend membership invitations to the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas to join the SEC effective July 1, 2025, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2025-26 academic year.

The move required a vote from at least 11 of the 14 SEC schools, comprising a three-quarter majority. Teams from the two schools can start participating in conference play during the 2025-26 academic year.

"Today's unanimous vote is both a testament to the SEC's longstanding spirit of unity and mutual cooperation, as well as a recognition of the outstanding legacies of academic and athletic excellence established by the Universities of Oklahoma and Texas," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. "I greatly appreciate the collective efforts of our Presidents and Chancellors in considering and acting upon each school's membership interest."

Texas and Oklahoma officially announced their plans to leave the Big 12 in a joint statement on July 26, noting they would not renew their grants of media rights when they expired in 2025.

"The universities intend to honor their existing grant of rights agreements," the statement said, via ESPN. "However, both universities will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving collegiate athletics landscape as they consider how best to position their athletics programs for the future."

According to Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman, the plan had been in motion for "a minimum of six months" before it became public. 

ESPN's Heather Dinich also reported Texas and Oklahoma didn't tell the rest of the conference membership that they intended to leave (via ESPN's David Hale).

Their departure now leaves the Big 12 without two more founding members and the two most prominent college football teams in the conference. 

Texas and Oklahoma are both among the winningest programs in the country with over 900 victories apiece, each putting their mark on the sport with national titles, Heisman Trophy winners and more. The Sooners have especially been the dominant program in the conference in recent years as the only Big 12 team to make an appearance in the College Football Playoff, reaching the national semifinals in four of the seven years of existence.

These schools also have plenty of men's basketball history with a combined eight Final Fours.

They will now try to continue this level of success in the SEC, which has won 11 of the last 15 football national championships since 2006 with four different schools raising the trophy. The additions will form an even deeper conference with 16 teams, creating a major athletic challenge for all participants in every sport.