An SEC expansion may be coming: Here's what we know about the Longhorns' Big 12 exit
Is Texas moving to the SEC? The Houston Chronicle first reported that Texas and Oklahoma are making plans to leave the Big 12. On Monday, Texas sent a letter to Big 12 officials that they intend to leave after their contract expires, signaling that the Longhorns intend to head for the SEC.
The Longhorns and Sooners moving to the SEC would alter the landscape of college football and the make best conference even stronger. SEC teams have won 11 of the the last 15 national championships with Alabama winning six, Florida and LSU winning two each and Auburn winning once. Adding Texas and Oklahoma would add two of the biggest programs in the nation, each one of which has a national championship in the last 20 years.
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This would not be the first time Big 12 schools have left the conference for the SEC. Texas A&M and Missouri left the Big 12 and joined the SEC in 2011.
Here is what we know about Texas moving to the SEC.
When could an exit officially take place?
The Longhorns' current television contract expires in 2025. The school has notified Big 12 officials that the school does not wish to extend its grant of television rights beyond the 2024-25 athletic year.
If the university had wished to end the contract early, it would have needed to pay millions to buy out.
How long has Texas been exploring to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC?
Texas, along with Oklahoma, have been having talks with the Southeastern Conference about leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC. Prominent Big 12 and SEC sources told the American-Statesman that talks have been going “six months at a minimum.”
Big 12 officials held a hastily called virtual meeting on Thursday regarding their possible departure of Texas and Oklahoma to the Southeastern Conference. Texas and and Oklahoma did not have representatives on the call.
The Big 12 would like to retain founding members Texas and Oklahoma in the conference.
The SEC has issued a statement on its Twitter account acknowledging that Texas and OU have applied for membership. The SEC added that they have not proactively sought new members.
How many SEC schools would have to agree for Texas to join the conference?
The SEC could vote on whether to approve the move as early as next week. For approval, 75% of current members, or 11 of 14, must vote for Texas and Oklahoma to join.
If the move is approved, it is not clear when Texas and Oklahoma would start playing as members of the SEC.
Texas and Oklahoma could stay in the Big 12 until the current Big 12 grant of media rights agreement runs out in 2025. However, it is more likely they would make the move earlier and buy out the remainder on the current contract. In that case, ESPN has reported that both Texas and Oklahoma would likely owe the Big 12 upward of $76 million apiece.
“I can’t imagine them sticking around,” a Big 12 source said. “That’d be like getting a divorce and still living together for four more years.”
Can Gov. Greg Abbott or elected officials stop a Texas move to the SEC?
Not everyone is happy about the idea of Texas leaving the Big 12.
The Texas Tribune has reported that four Texas lawmakers have met with Governor Greg Abbott's staff to discuss ways stop Texas from leaving the Big 12.
State Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, said he was drafting legislation to require UT to obtain the Legislature's approval before leaving the Big 12.
However, the Texas Legislature is in a special session and Gov. Abbott would have to add the item to the agenda before it could be considered.
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Texas A&M wants to be 'the only SEC team from Texas'
Texas A&M made their own move from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2011 and they do not want Texas following in their footsteps.
While many fans would like to see the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry renewed, Aggies AD Ross Bjork did not appear to be happy with the news. “We want to be the only SEC team from the state of Texas," Bjork said, according to Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger.
Texas A&M is expected to vote against Texas joining the SEC.
Statesman reporters Kirk Bohls, Chuck Lindell and Brian Davis contributed to the report.