It appears that the Big 12 was completely in the dark regarding Oklahoma and Texas’s overtures to the SEC in recent weeks. At today’s Big 12 league meeting, in which both Oklahoma and Texas didn’t show, administrators from the other eight schools learned that Oklahoma and Texas have explored leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, Sports Illustrated‘s Ross Dellenger reported.
Additionally, while the moves aren’t “imminent”, they are very serious, Dellenger said. And it’s not a good look that the Big 12 is just learning this new now.
On the Big 12 call tonight, administrators were informed Texas & OU have indeed explored the possibility of joining the SEC, sources tell @SINow.
The next step: a group of Big 12 presidents plan to connect with those schools’ leaders in hopes of learning why.
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 23, 2021
The next step for the Big 12 it appears is to have a group of conference presidents reach out to Oklahoma and Texas to discover why the two schools appear intent on leaving, the report continued. Although, it probably doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce why at this point: money.
Associated Press‘s Ralph D. Russo outlined the “highlights” of the Big 12 league call, four points of conversation that, in truth, don’t really say too much.
The Big 12 has provided what it is calling highlights from today’s call with ADs and CEOs (university presidents and chancellors) from eight members who took part. pic.twitter.com/YMDKFnVDNv
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) July 23, 2021
The highlights include: the conferences’ ADs and CEOs value Oklahoma and Texas as founding members, all eight Big 12 schools — aside from Oklahoma and Texas, of course — wish to maintain the current composition of the conference, the league values each institutions’ right to act in its own self-interest yet hopes each adheres to conference bylaws and Grant of Rights agreement and that the Big 12 hopes to play a major role in the continuing evolution of interscholastic athletics.
While most schools in the Big 12 haven’t publicly commented on the news, one school chancellor has made his voice heard.
Perhaps the strongest rebuttal to the “Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC” advances yet has come from the Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. Texas Tech Chancellor Tedd L. Mitchell issued one of the strongest responses from either an SEC, Big 12, NCAA or school official yet.
Like many across our state and within the footprint of our league, I’ve been extremely disappointed by the actions and intentions of our friends in Austin and Norman. From day one of the Big 12 Conference’s existence, Texas Tech has been a proud and trustworthy partner. (cont.)
— Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D. (@TeddLMitchell) July 22, 2021
Mitchell’s two-part message brings forth his own disappointment, along with apparent disappointment from others in Texas, regarding the behavior of “our friends in Austin and Norman.” Mitchell pointed to Texas Tech’s proud and trustworthy membership in the Big 12 and promised to, “diligently pursue all options to best position Texas Tech for long-term success.”
Those words don’t sound like Texas Tech is ready to reconcile with Oklahoma and Texas. It sounds like a response that promises to look for a new conference in the event of the Big 12 breaking down in wake of an exodus.
Texas Tech is the first Big 12 school to have an official issue a statement, but there will certainly be a further response from the conference.
West Virginia hasn’t released any statement nor has a school official broached the situation.