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Texas And Oklahoma To Join SEC In Colossal Shakeup Of College Sports

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at July 30, 2021


The University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma have accepted bids to join the Southeastern Conference, the universities announced Friday, after signing off on one of the biggest shifts of money and power in college sports history.

Key Facts

Texas and Oklahoma will start competing in the SEC after the universities’ Big 12 media contracts expire in 2025.

The SEC will become the biggest conference in the NCAA’s Division I when Texas and Oklahoma join, at 16 teams, with the two programs bringing even more money and prestige to a conference already widely considered the top college sports league.

Texas ranked as the second most valuable college football program, with $147 million in average annual revenue on Forbes‘ most recent list of College Football’s Most Valuable Teams, released in 2019, while Oklahoma placed sixth with $129 million in average annual revenue.

The move means the SEC will have nine of the 12 most valuable college football programs, which generate far more money than any other collegiate sport, while the Big 12 would be left without a single member among the 25 most valuable programs.

Both the Texas and Oklahoma Board of Regents voted unanimously on Friday to join the SEC.

Crucial Quote

“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,” Oklahoma President Joseph Harroz Jr. said in a statement.

What To Watch For

The last time any major universities switched conferences was in the early 2010s, when the SEC gained programs like Texas A&M and Missouri, as part of a major realignment in college sports where top conferences expanded and smaller conferences lost prestige. The moves by Texas and Oklahoma have triggered widespread speculation that another massive realignment of college sports will likely come.

Key Background

The decision comes only 10 days after rumors were first reported by the Houston Chronicle, which caught leadership at the other Big 12 universities off guard. Action has come quickly since then. On Monday, Texas and Oklahoma officials informed the Big 12 they would not be renewing their media rights contract after 2025, marking the first formal step toward leaving the conference. SEC presidents and chancellors then met on Thursday and unanimously approved extending bids for Texas and Oklahoma to join the conference.

Chief Critic

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement: “We are disappointed these discussions went as far as they did without notice to, or inclusion of, other Big 12 members.” 

Big Number

$1.3 billion. That’s how much the remaining Big 12 schools stand to lose in annual gross product if the conference ends up collapsing as a result of Texas and Oklahoma leaving, according to a study from the Perryman Group, a Texas-based economic research firm.

Surprising Fact

Texas A&M initially seemed opposed to the move, with athletic director Ross Bjork saying “we want to be the only SEC team from the state of Texas,” after the Houston Chronicle article. But Texas A&M ultimately joined the other 13 SEC universities in backing the Texas and Oklahoma bids.

Further Reading

Exclusive: Texas, Oklahoma reach out to SEC about joining conference (Houston Chronicle)

Texas And Oklahoma Reportedly Ask About Joining SEC In Possible Monumental College Sports Shakeup (Forbes)

College Football’s Most Valuable Teams: Reigning Champion Clemson Tigers Claw Into Top 25 (Forbes)


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