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Report: Texas, OU seek to enter SEC

by The Associated Press | July 22, 2021 at 2:20 a.m.
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian speaks during the NCAA college football Big 12 media days Thursday, July 15, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The last time Texas got a wandering eye for alternative conference affiliations, it fueled a series of realignment in college sports that nearly killed the Big 12.

A report that Texas could once again be exploring free agency ended up stealing the headlines at the SEC Media Days and cranked up speculation about another round of conference shuffling.

The Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday, citing a source it did not identify, that Big 12 powers Texas and Oklahoma have reached out to the SEC about potentially joining the league.

The newspaper cited a "high-ranking official with knowledge of the situation" and said an announcement could come in the next couple of weeks. Adding two members would give the SEC 16 teams, the largest in major college football.

Questions about the report were greeted by a series of no comments from the primary parties involved, but no denials.

"I'm talking about the 2021 season," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said as Day 3 of the SEC's four-day football event in Hoover, Ala., wound down.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, whose 10-member league would suffer a major blow with such defections, did not return messages from the AP seeking comment.

Any move to leave the Big 12 would be complicated by an agreement its schools made after the last round of realignment to hand their media rights over to the league through their current TV deals. The grant of rights lines up with the Big 12's contracts with Fox and ESPN and runs through the 2024-25 school year.

Back in 2010, the then Pac-10 -- led by new commissioner Larry Scott -- tried to woo Texas and five other Big 12 schools into the West Coast-based conference to form a Pac-16.

Texas stayed put and instead started its own TV network. After another flirtation between Texas, Oklahoma and Scott, Texas A&M bolted for the SEC in 2012 and Missouri followed the Aggies.

The Big 12, which had already lost Nebraska to the Big Ten and Colorado to the now Pac-12, managed to hang on by inviting TCU and West Virginia.

SEC bylaws require at least three-fourths (12) of the members to vote in favor of extending an invitation to join.

The SEC announced earlier this year it distributed about $45.5 million each to its members. The Big 12 schools received about $10 million less from its conference.

Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley speaks from the stage with mannequins in the back ground during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley speaks from the stage with mannequins in the back ground during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian walks on stage behind mannequins wearing Texas and Oklahoma uniforms during the NCAA college football Big 12 media days Thursday, July 15, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian walks on stage behind mannequins wearing Texas and Oklahoma uniforms during the NCAA college football Big 12 media days Thursday, July 15, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley speaks from the stage during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley speaks from the stage during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is shown on the giant screen as he speaks during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is shown on the giant screen as he speaks during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
CORRECTS DATELINE TO ARLINGTON, TEXAS, NOT DALLAS AS ORIGINALLY SENT - Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, center, speaks during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
CORRECTS DATELINE TO ARLINGTON, TEXAS, NOT DALLAS AS ORIGINALLY SENT - Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, center, speaks during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher speaks to reporters during an NCAA college football news conference at the Southeastern Conference media days, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher speaks to reporters during an NCAA college football news conference at the Southeastern Conference media days, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks to reporters during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks to reporters during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Print Headline: Report: Texas, OU seek to enter SEC

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