In the wake of Oklahoma and Texas reportedly reaching out to the Southeastern Conference ahead of a potential move, the reaction around the college football landscape has been swift.
While Oklahoma, Texas and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey have downplayed the report from the Houston Chronicle, it’s more about what all three haven’t said as opposed to what they have. There hasn’t been a definitive confirmation or denial of the report.
SEC commish Greg Sankey on Houston Chronicle report about Texas, Oklahoma enquiring about joining the SEC: “We are only worried about the 2021 season. Somebody dropped a report from unnamed people”
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 21, 2021
A Texas spokesman has this statement about the SEC rumors: "Speculation swirls around collegiate athletics. We will not address rumors or speculation."
— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) July 21, 2021
Oklahoma statement on report of Sooners & Texas interest in joining SEC: "The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly. We don’t address every anonymous rumor."
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 21, 2021
Without a decisive statement, Sankey left the door open regarding at least discussion over Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC. However, as Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman said, admitting both schools would require a majority vote from the schools already in the conference.
SEC source tells me it "will take a majority vote" to accept Texas, OU in the SEC.
— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) July 21, 2021
At least one SEC isn’t too keen on Texas joining the conference. Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger broke the news of Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork not wanting Texas to join the conference. Dellenger further reported that Bjork said he was unaware of the rumors of Oklahoma and Texas inquiring about joining the SEC. Texas A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher joked, “I bet they would,” when asked about the two Big 12 powerhouses’ interest in joining the SEC, TexAgs reported.
Ross Bjork says he was unaware of Texas/OU interest in joining the SEC. SEC ADs have not discussed the issue, he says.
It's clear where the Aggies stand.
"There’s a reason why Texas A&M left the Big 12 – to be stand alone & have our own identity. That’s our feeling," he says.
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 21, 2021
Jimbo Fisher on reports that Texas and Oklahoma are interested in joining the SEC: "I bet they would."
"I'm just worried about Texas A&M. We got the greatest league in ball."
— TexAgs (@TexAgs) July 21, 2021
With one member of the SEC already vocally opposing the moves, the majority vote required for Texas at least appears to be even more complex. In terms of Oklahoma leaving the Big 12, a common perception that Oklahoma would be forced to bring Oklahoma State along wherever they go isn’t true, journalist Joe Buettner said.
This literally isn’t true https://t.co/2m0MqGDNmI
— Joe Buettner (@JoeBuettner) July 21, 2021
While no source has publically confirmed nor denied the rumor, Geoff Ketchum of Orangebloods.com (the Texas Rivals site) said the rumor has some traction. It’s looking like the rumor will only continue to heat up as more and more information leaks. With the Big 12’s TV deal negotiations beginning soon (the current deal expiring in 2025), the potential for a new deal before Oklahoma and Texas publicly commit to staying in the Big 12 or leaving for the SEC is low.
Talking to sources right now about Texas and OU possibly headed to the SEC.
There's definite fire, not smoke.
— Geoff Ketchum (@gkketch) July 21, 2021
Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports said there’s a “general feel” that after the conclusion of the current Big 12 TV deal, Texas would look into a free agency of sorts, and he floated the idea of being independent or going to the SEC or Atlantic Coast Conference. His closing sentence, “there’s too much chatter and conversation behind the scenes for there not to be some truth here,” points toward more fire than smoke in the rumor.
Made a few calls. Column coming. General feel is that Texas was going to essentially explore free agency after this TV deal. Independent? ACC? SEC? They were going to be active. "There’s too much chatter and conversation behind the scenes for there to not be some truth here."
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) July 21, 2021
If the Big 12 were to lose Oklahoma and Texas, the SEC jumping to a Power Five high of 16 teams, the Big 12 will be at a low of just eight teams. Even if Group of Five teams were to be invited to replenish the Big 12, there’s no guarantee they’d accept. Which would leave West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, TCU, Baylor and Texas Tech on the hunt for an invite to a new conference if the Big 12 were to collapse.
Almost assuredly, more information will become available — as early as this evening — and the situation will either be resolved, or Oklahoma and Texas will create the first “super conference” in college football and shake up the college football landscape.