NORMAN, Okla. — University of Oklahoma officials were not commenting Wednesday on a report that the Sooners as well as the University of Texas Longhorns are exploring moving from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference.
The Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday that both universities have “reached out to the SEC about potentially joining” it, but the newspaper cited as its source only a “high-ranking college official with knowledge of the situation.”
The paper also reported that an announcement regarding the addition of both programs to the SEC could come “within a couple of weeks.”
Oklahoma officials said in a statement later in the day, “The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly. We don’t address every anonymous rumor."
The Austin-American Statesman had a similar response from University of Texas officials.
“Speculation swirls around collegiate athletics. We will not address rumors or speculation,” according to a tweet from the university.
When asked about the report during SEC Media Days on Wednesday, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey did not comment, saying he wanted to focus on the 2021 season.
Big 12 officials also did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Oklahoma State University released a statement. "We have heard unconfirmed reports that OU and UT approached Southeastern Conference officials about joining the SEC. We are gathering information and will monitor closely. If true, we would be gravely disappointed. While we place a premium on history, loyalty and trust, be assured, we will aggressively defend and advance what is best for Oklahoma State and our strong athletic program, which continues to excel in the Big 12 and nationally."
If Oklahoma and Texas join the SEC it would create a new 14-team league. In 2011, Colorado left the Big 12 for the Pac-12 and Nebraska moved to the Big Ten, followed by Texas A&M’s departure to the SEC in 2012. The University of Missouri also left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2011.
Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork made his feelings pretty clear about the possible additions of OU and Texas to the SEC.
"We want to be the only SEC team from the state of Texas," Bjork said, according to a report in Sports Illustrated. "There's a reason why Texas A&M left the Big 12 — to stand alone and have our own identity. That's our feeling."
OU and Texas are currently bound to the Big 12 by an agreement that keeps members’ broadcast rights through 2024-25. The Big 12’s TV contracts with Fox Sports and ESPN also expire the same year.