The board of regents for the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma both voted unanimously Friday to accept an invitation to join the Southeastern Conference.
The SEC voted to extend invitations to Texas and its Big 12 rival Oklahoma on Thursday, with the move scheduled for July 1, 2025 -- for now. Texas and Oklahoma are bound to the Big 12 and its other eight members by a media rights agreement through the 2024-25 school year.
The final hurdle was cleared for Texas and OU to leave the Big 12 in 2025.
Now the attention turns to if the Irving-based conference will survive.
Board of regents meetings friday in oklahoma and texas ushured in a new era in college sports.
The university of texas and university of oklahoma officially joining the southeastern confernce starting in 2025.
"This is the right decision at the right time for UT athletics," Texas University President Jay Hartzell said.
OU’s president talked about preserving the OU-Texas rivalry, consistently filling the stands, and making athletics sustainable without subsidies from the state and student tuition and fees.
"We are immensely proud to be a part of the Big 12, but these forces that require our institutions that are out there right now, these changes, will not allow us to do that beyond 2025," Oklahoma University President Joseph Harroz said.
The journey to reach this decision was fast paced, but university officials said it was well thought out.
There was also a lucrative financial benefits from a move to the SEC.
"The SEC moving to a 16-team conference, having seven of the top 10 revenue schools in college football. I mean, this is a big deal from a monetary perspective," explained Shehan Jeyarajah, college football insider for Dave Campbell's Texas Football.
The Big 12, headquartered in Irving has a big footprint in North Texas.
Jeyarajah explained what this could mean for TCU and the other seven remaining teams if the Big 12 survives.
"If we do move forward with these eight teams and the other conferences don't look to expand, I think certainly you'll see them reach out to an SMU, Houston, UCF or Memphis, something like that, because at least then that kind of gets you back to 10 to 12 members," he said.
There’s also the matter of the Red River Showdown at the Cotton Bowl, a big financial addition to the State Fair of Texas.
It appears to not be impacted by the change in conferences, but OU’s president left the matter a little bit vague, describing it as one of two preferred priorities, and the other one is clearly not happening.
"The first is that we prefer to be in the same athletic conference as Oklahoma State University. And the other is we prefer to play the University of Texas every year in Dallas, period," Harroz said.
Both university presidents said this decision was bigger than just money.
"The SEC is the best fit for our future, the reasons are many. The stability and strength for the league and its leadership, the level of visibility for our student athletes," Hartzell said.
The SEC sent a statement following the vote, saying both schools will be members in all sports in 2025, but there’s speculation the schools might exit the Big 12 much sooner. Both Texas A&M and Missouri were accepted into the SEC in the fall of 2011 and started playing a year later.
"What they could be looking at in the next couple of months is potentially a buyout. So if they were to leave two years early, they'd have to pay back. Basically, what they would have made in two years of the Big 12 could be close to $80 million," Jeyarajah said.