And in just eight days, we’ve gone from a bombshell report of Oklahoma and Texas talking to the SEC, to the presidents voting 14-0 to accept the two universities into the conference.
Oklahoma and Texas’ Board of Regents are scheduled to meet on Friday, which is when they’re expected to officially accept the invite into the new league. This timeline has moved incredibly quickly, with Oklahoma and Texas informing the Big 12 on Monday of their intentions to leave the conference in 2025, after the current media grants of rights comes to an end.
“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,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said. “I greatly appreciate the collective efforts of our Presidents and Chancellors in considering and acting upon each school’s membership interest.”
The timeline for the move is still up in the air, especially now that the Big 12 is pursuing legal action against ESPN, who they allege worked this move behinds the scenes with the SEC, Oklahoma and Texas. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby also said he believes that ESPN was working with the AAC to move several teams remaining in the Big 12 to that league. ESPN responded to “cease and desist” letter by calling the allegations “unsubstantiated claims”.
Money, of course, is the motivating factor here. The Big 12 was paying out $37 million per school, which was third of the Power 5 Conferences. However, SEC schools currently get $45 million a year from the conference, and it’s believed that revenues will easily clear $50 million when OU and Texas join, and ESPN takes over CBS’ SEC rights in 2023.