Texas, Oklahoma take formal step toward leaving Big 12, presumably for SEC

The Sooners and Longhorns took the first formal step toward joining the Gators in the SEC on Monday morning.
Oklahoma topped Florida in the Cotton Bowl last season. They're expected to be conference opponents soon.
Oklahoma topped Florida in the Cotton Bowl last season. They're expected to be conference opponents soon. [ LYNDA M. GONZ\U00E1LEZ/THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS | The Dallas Morning News ]
Published Jul. 26, 2021|Updated Jul. 26, 2021

Texas and Oklahoma have taken the first formal step toward leaving the Big 12 and joining the Gators in the SEC.

Both schools said Monday that they will not renew their media rights deals with the Big 12 but “intend to honor their existing grant of rights agreements” through the 2024-25 athletic year.

“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,” the schools said in a statement.

The Sooners, and Longhorns, of course, are the ones causing that landscape to teeter. With Monday’s announcement out of the way, they’re expected to quickly begin moving toward becoming full-time members of the SEC, which will kick of the latest round of conference realignment.

Related: If Texas and Oklahoma want the SEC, be careful what you wish for

A lot must be worked through before Texas and Oklahoma will be joining the Gators in the SEC. If the move happens — conference realignment is always fluid — it’s unclear when the move would take place. This year’s schedules are already set, but it’s hard to see both power programs remaining in the Big 12 through four lame-duck seasons. Everything in conference realignment is subject to negotiation and litigation.

For Texas and Oklahoma to become SEC members, at least three-fourths of the conference’s 14 current members must vote to “extend an invitation for membership,” according to the SEC bylaws. We don’t know when that could happen, but these things can happen quickly.

It’s worth noting that Texas and Florida already had a home-and-home football series scheduled for 2030-31. There’s nothing in that game contract about what happens if both teams are in the same conference at that point.

Related: What was the 1940 Florida-Texas game like?

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