The 14 SEC presidents and chancellors voted unanimously on Thursday to extend invitations to Big 12 co-founders Oklahoma and Texas to join the league, leaving one final formality before the deal is done: OU and Texas have to officially accept the offer, which could happen as soon as Friday.
The board of regents for both Texas and Oklahoma have scheduled separate special meetings Friday morning, where athletic conference membership will be discussed. Oklahoma’s regents will meet in Oklahoma City, and Texas’ regents will meet via conference call.
The next step is to determine when the move will become a reality and what happens to the eight schools left behind. On Monday, Texas and Oklahoma issued a joint statement saying they intend to remain in the Big 12 through June 30, 2025, when the current Big 12 media rights deal expires, but it’s possible the schools attempt to exit sooner. Each university would have to pay a penalty of at least $75 million to $80 million to break that agreement, or hope that the Big 12 dissolves before the contract expires.
On Monday, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby issued a statement of confidence regarding that conference’s future.
“We are unwavering in the belief that the Big 12 provides an outstanding platform for its members’ athletic and academic success,” he said. “We will face the challenges head-on, and have confidence that the Big 12 will continue to be a vibrant and successful entity in the near term and into the foreseeable future.”
After months of closed-door discussions, multiple meetings made public this week hastened the historic decision that is likely to create a seismic wave of change throughout the collegiate landscape. The only SEC school to publicly indicate it had reservations about Texas joining the league was Texas A&M, which abruptly reversed course over the past week.
The Aggies’ board of regents voted 8-1 on Wednesday to direct president M. Katherine Banks to vote in favor of extending invitations to OU and Texas.
“Although the Board had concerns about the communication process relating to this matter, today the Board received the information it needed to properly consider the long-term ramifications of possible expansion,” a statement released from the board on Wednesday said. “The board concluded that this expansion would enhance the long-term value of the SEC to student athletes and all of the institutions they represent — including Texas A&M.”
On Tuesday, UT and OU formally notified the SEC they are seeking “an invitation for membership” beginning July 1, 2025.