University of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC? The critical move both schools just made

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Monday, July 26, 2021
Texas, Oklahoma reportedly reach out to SEC about joining
The last time Texas got a wandering eye for alternative conference affiliations, it fueled a series of realignment in college sports that nearly killed the Big 12.

Are the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma another step closer to taking their Red River rivalry to the Southeastern Conference?

The latest statement from both universities makes it appear that way.

On Monday, UT and OU issued a joint statement explaining that the schools notified their current conference, the Big 12, that they would not be renewing their media rights deal after it expires in 2025.

The move is considered the first and significant formal step in the process of departing the Big 12.

"The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Oklahoma notified the Big 12 Athletic Conference today that they will not be renewing their grants of media rights following expiration in 2025. Providing notice to the Big 12 at this point is important in advance of the expiration of the conference's current media rights agreement. The universities intend to honor their existing grant of rights agreements. 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 statement didn't name the SEC, but the timing adds up.

Just last week, ESPN confirmed that Texas and Oklahoma could make their move to the SEC official in a matter of weeks.

But not everybody wants to see this happen.

A group of Texas lawmakers recently filed legislation that would prohibit Texas public colleges and universities from switching their affiliations with collegiate athletic conferences without approval from the Legislature.

House Bill 298 has more than 30 co-authors but it's more symbolic to express lawmakers' displeasure.

On top of that, the bill is unrelated to any of the topics placed on Gov. Greg Abbott's special session agenda, which means it's ineligible to be passed into law.

If UT and OU leave, University of Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Baylor, Texas Christian, Texas Tech and West Virginia would be the schools left in the Big 12, which was established in 1994.

The SEC consists of Auburn, Louisiana State, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt universities.

The Associated Press and the Texas Tribune contributed to this report.

The video above is from our previous report on the UT and OU news.