Here come the Sooners! As expected, the Oklahoma Board of Regents voted unanimously to accept the Southeastern Conference’s invitation to join the league once their media rights agreement with the Big 12 expires in 2025. Texas’ Board of Regents did the same earlier today.
“The board’s action today is undoubtedly one of the most significant decisions in our more than a century of athletics and is of true importance to the broader university,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr., via OU.edu. “We believe that joining the Southeastern Conference will sustain our tradition of national-caliber athletics excellence, strengthen our flagship university as a whole and serve the wider interests of the state of Oklahoma. The entire Sooner Nation and Oklahomans throughout the state stand to benefit from this move, and we’re thrilled for a new platform to tell the OU story all across the country.”
“This decision today allows us to ensure we’re doing all we can to further OU’s long-standing record of athletics excellence; attracting top student-athletes from across the country and giving this institution the exposure it deserves,” said University of Oklahoma Athletics Director Joe Castiglione. “The special history, energy and character OU will bring to the SEC will only make us, and our new conference, stronger.”
“The entire university thrives when our athletics program thrives,” said OU Board Chair Michael A. Cawley. “The OU Board of Regents proudly stands behind this essential move to best position the University of Oklahoma and Sooner Athletics for stability and excellence. We are confident that by taking control of our own destiny and joining the SEC, OU will be in the best possible position to continue advancing our institution’s overall mission.”
Yesterday, the SEC’s presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to invite Texas and Oklahoma into the league effective July 1, 2025.
“Today’s unanimous vote is both a testament to the SEC’s longstanding spirit of unity and mutual cooperation, as well as a recognition of the outstanding legacies of academic and athletic excellence established by the Universities of Oklahoma and Texas,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “I greatly appreciate the collective efforts of our Presidents and Chancellors in considering and acting upon each school’s membership interest.”
While July 1, 2025 is the date the schools requested to join the league, it’s widely expected they will join sooner once the legal process plays out. Both are under contract with the Big 12 until the end of the 2024-25 season with a $160 million buyout if they leave early.
Just think, ten days ago, none (okay, 99.9%) of us knew this was happening.
UPDATE (12:45 PM): The SEC just sent out a release featuring quotes from Jere Morehead, President of the University of Georgia and current President of the SEC, and Commissioner Greg Sankey.
“The Presidents and Chancellors of the Southeastern Conference are pleased to welcome the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas,” said Jere Morehead, President of the University of Georgia and current President of the SEC. “Both universities are prestigious academic institutions with strong athletics programs similar in tradition, culture and success to our current member universities. We look forward to a productive and successful future together beginning in 2025.”
“This is an important moment for the long-term future of the Southeastern Conference and our member universities,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “Oklahoma and Texas are outstanding academic institutions with two strong athletics programs, which will add to the SEC’s national prominence. Their additions will further enhance the already rich academic, athletic and cultural legacies that have been cultivated throughout the years by our existing 14 members. We look forward to the Sooners and Longhorns competing in our Conference starting in the 2025-26 academic year.”
“The Southeastern Conference’s dedication to the success of our member institutions – and our members’ commitment to one another – has produced a sustained level of excellence unrivaled throughout college sports,” Sankey added. “It is the unity and collaboration of our institutions that makes the SEC special, and Wednesday’s decision of the Texas A&M Board of Regents to approve a vote supportive of Conference membership for their long-time in-state rival is an example of the overall culture of this Conference. I appreciate the opportunity for our Conference to move forward with a spirit of unanimity.”