Oklahoma and Texas have formally notified the SEC they are seeking “an invitation for membership” beginning July 1, 2025, according to a joint statement from the flagship programs of the Big 12. According to the release, OU and Texas sent SEC commissioner Greg Sankey their request Tuesday morning.
According to the letter, which was dated July 27 and made public, Texas president Jay Hartzell and Oklahoma president Joseph Harroz Jr. wrote, “We believe that there would be mutual benefit to the Universities on the one hand, and the SEC on the other hand, for the Universities to become members of the SEC.”
The additions of the Longhorns and Sooners to the SEC would create the first 16-team superconference. The SEC’s by-laws state that 11 of 14 institutions must vote in the affirmative to invite new members. There may be some current SEC teams — in addition to Texas A&M — that are reluctant to accept additional league members for myriad reasons, including concerns about future expansion into their states.
If Texas and Oklahoma were to leave the Big 12 early and perhaps make their SEC debut in 2022, each could owe up to $80 million to the Big 12 as a penalty for leaving before the TV rights contract expires. That total equals the combined revenue distribution per school over a two-year period.
Efforts made by the Big 12 to keep its blue-blood programs have failed. CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported that the league discussed pitching Texas and Oklahoma a scenario that would have awarded them an additional half-share of media rights revenue annually (1.5 shares each), bumping their payouts to approximately $56 million per year. The other eight schools would have decreased their payouts accordingly.
The league’s board of directors met with Oklahoma president Joe Harroz and Texas president Jay Hartzell on Sunday. In a statement, commissioner Bob Bowlsby called the meeting “cordial” with discussions “that would strengthen the conference” while being “mutually beneficial to OU and UT, as well as other member institutions.” Bowlsby expected that the conference would “continue our conversations in the days ahead.”