It’s official: Texas and Oklahoma have been formally invited to join the Southeastern Conference.
The league announced Thursday that its members unanimously voted to extend an invitation to the universities of Texas and Oklahoma at a videoconference meeting of executives.
“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 Greg Sankey, the commissioner of the SEC. “I greatly appreciate the collective efforts of our Presidents and Chancellors in considering and acting upon each school’s membership interest.”
This collective move by the Sooners and Longhorns is the culmination of a week’s worth of rumors and reports, and will likely set off a new round of conference realignment moves across college football. Reports first surfaced on July 21 that Texas and Oklahoma had opened discussions with the SEC about the move, prompting the remaining eight Big 21 members to meet with the league.
On July 25, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and league executives held a “cordial” meeting with Texas and Oklahoma. One day later, the schools officially notified the league they were planning to leave.
From that point, the saga became ever more bizarre. After Texas and Oklahoma officially petitioned for SEC membership on Tuesday, a disappointed Bowlsby released a statement insinuating the move had been in the works “for months.”
“We are unwavering in the belief that the Big 12 provides an outstanding platform for its members’ athletic and academic success,” he wrote in a statement on Tuesday. “We will face the challenges head-on, and we have confidence that the Big 12 will continue to be a vibrant and successful entity in the near term and into the foreseeable future.”