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Are Texas and Oklahoma trying to join the SEC?

The schools reportedly have been talking with conference officials about leaving the Big 12.
Texas and Oklahoma have been talking with Southeastern Conference officials about leaving the Big 12 and joining the SEC, according to a report published Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle.
Texas and Oklahoma have been talking with Southeastern Conference officials about leaving the Big 12 and joining the SEC, according to a report published Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle. [ MICHAEL AINSWORTH | AP ]
Published Jul. 21

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas and Oklahoma have been talking with Southeastern Conference officials about leaving the Big 12 and joining the SEC, according to a report published Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle.

An announcement could come within weeks, the newspaper reported. However, high-level sources at both schools were evasive when asked about the situation by the American-Statesman.

“Sorry, I can’t comment on all the athletic rumors swirling around right now in this crazy time,” Texas President Jay Hartzell told the Austin American-Statesman last week.

A source in the Oklahoma athletics department told the Statesman, “Come on now? Is this ‘Groundhog Day’ all over again?”

At SEC media days in Hoover, Ala., SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey had “no comment on that speculation,” according to CBS Sports. Sankey also told a reporter from 247Sports, “I’m here to talk about the 2021 season.”

On stage talking with SEC reporters, Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher was asked if he thought Texas and Oklahoma would like to join A&M’s league. “I bet they would. I’m just worried about A&M,” he said.

For any new team to join the SEC, it would take a majority decision by the league’s members. A&M left the Big 12 and joined the SEC prior to the 2012 football season in part to get away from Texas.

“We want to be the only SEC team from the state of Texas,” A&M athletic director Ross Bjork told Sports Illustrated on Wednesday. “There’s a reason why Texas A&M left the Big 12 — to be stand alone and have our own identity. That’s our feeling.”

What could be driving the discussions? College football has been rocked by a series of changes in recent years, most notable the transfer portal and new rules about name, image and likeness.

Also, most major conference TV contracts are up for renewal in 2023 or 2024. And college presidents and athletic directors are now talking about expanding the College Football Playoff to 12 teams. It’s unclear how any of these changes are going to affect the financial dynamics in play.

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