It’s official: UT, Oklahoma will join the SEC in 2025

The Southeastern Conference voted Thursday to invite Texas and Oklahoma to join the league,...
The Southeastern Conference voted Thursday to invite Texas and Oklahoma to join the league, effective July 1, 2025.(wdtv)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 4:48 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2021 at 12:41 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (July 30, 2021) – The Southeastern Conference made it official Friday; the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma will join the SEC on July 1, 2025 and will compete in all sports beginning in the 2025-2026 academic year.

“The presidents and chancellors of the Southeastern Conference are pleased to welcome the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas,” said Jere Morehead, President of the University of Georgia and current President of the SEC.

“Both universities are prestigious academic institutions with strong athletics programs similar in tradition, culture and success to our current member universities. We look forward to a productive and successful future together beginning in 2025.”

The two schools submitted formal requests for member on Tuesday.

On Thursday the conference’s presidents and chancellors voted to extend invitations, and on Friday the regents both schools accepted the invitations.

The addition of the two schools will increase the size of the SEC to 16 beginning in July 2025.

“This is an important moment for the long-term future of the Southeastern Conference and our member universities,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.

“Oklahoma and Texas are outstanding academic institutions with two strong athletics programs, which will add to the SEC’s national prominence. Their additions will further enhance the already rich academic, athletic, and cultural legacies that have been cultivated throughout the years by our existing 14 members. We look forward to the Sooners and Longhorns competing in our conference starting in the 2025-26 academic year.”

The University of Texas will be the fifth institution in the SEC to hold membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities, joining Florida, Missouri, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

The departure of the two schools from the beleaguered Big 12 Conference leaves the Big 12′s eight remaining schools, including Baylor University, with what right now appears to be an uncertain future.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby expressed disappointment in a brief statement Thursday evening.

“Today’s SEC announcement reaffirms that these plans have been in the works with ongoing discussions between the parties and television partner for some time. We are disappointed these discussions went as far as they did without notice to, or inclusion of, other Big 12 members,” he said.

“Despite our concerns for the process and for the overall health of college athletics, we will do everything possible to make sure that the student-athletes at both universities enjoy an excellent experience throughout the remaining four years of their participation and competition in the Big 12 Conference.

Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone, in a weekly email to students, faculty and staff that was sent before the vote Thursday, said school officials “will approach the situation strategically and deliberately for the future of Baylor.”

“One important aspect that has been absent in all the public discussion is the unfortunate loss of longtime, special rivalries,” Livingstone said.

“Baylor and Texas have met every season since 1945, which is our longest consecutive streak against any opponent and the second-longest for Texas behind only the Oklahoma series. Baylor has five wins against Texas since 2010, joining Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU as the only teams with five wins vs. UT in that span,” she said.

The loss of the two powerhouse schools will leave the rest of universities in the conference, including Baylor “facing smaller television deals, lower attendance, and other negative consequences,” economist Ray Perryman of The Perryman Group said in a report released earlier Thursday.

“The result would be reductions in athletic revenue, tourism, and economic benefits for affected communities,” he said.

The Perryman Group considered two scenarios.

In the first, the Big 12 would remain largely intact after Texas and Oklahoma leave, and in the second, the Big 12 crumbles and the remaining schools are forced to “seek opportunities elsewhere.”

Under the first scenario, “the realignment could be expected to cause losses of $938.9 million in annual gross product and 12,623 jobs,” in communities across the Big 12 conference.

Under the second scenario, losses of $1.3 billion in annual gross product and 18,063 jobs are possible.

Perryman’s report estimates the economic consequences to Waco, Lubbock and Fort Worth, the homes of Baylor, Texas Tech and TCU, to include the loss of $397.7 million in annual gross product and 5,322 jobs under the first scenario and $569.1 million in annual gross product and 7,615 jobs under the second scenario, including multiplier effects.

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