SEC presidents and chancellors have scheduled a meeting for Thursday, in which they will discuss expansion and whether to add Oklahoma and Texas to what would be college football’s first super-conference of 16 teams, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to ESPN.
The Longhorns and Sooners could formally ask the SEC to consider them for membership as early as this week, another source said. A three-fourths majority vote of SEC presidents and chancellors — 11 of 14 — would be required for invitations to be extended. Sources previously told ESPN that it’s believed enough SEC schools will vote to add the two new members.
A source told ESPN on Tuesday morning that he wasn’t sure whether the league’s presidents and chancellors would vote on Thursday because there was still much work to do in terms of existing TV contracts.
“There’s a lot to do in a short amount of time in order to get to a vote by Thursday,” the source said.
On Monday, Oklahoma and Texas said in a joint statement released by both schools that they officially notified the Big 12 they will not be renewing their grants of media rights after their expiration in 2025.
It’s still unclear when the Longhorns and Sooners would plan to start competing in the SEC, or how much resistance they’ll receive from the remaining eight Big 12 schools. Under Big 12 bylaws, the schools would be required to give the league 18 months’ notice that they’re leaving.
Texas and Oklahoma could either stick around through June 30, 2025, when the current Big 12 media rights deals expire; pay a penalty of at least $75 million to $80 million to break that agreement; or hope that the Big 12 dissolves before the grant of rights contract expires.
A source said the Longhorns and Sooners “have a lot of legal work to do before they can just walk over to us.”
In a video message to Iowa State fans and alumni on Monday, athletic director Jamie Pollard said he hoped Oklahoma and Texas would honor their existing grant of rights agreement with the Big 12.
“If that remains the case, we know for the next four years the Big 12 is going to stay viable, and the Big 12 is going to continue to win national championships and be competitive in NCAA championships, and all 10 members are going to continue to receive their full media shares,” Pollard said. “That allows us the opportunity to spend the next four years evaluating the landscape and understanding what’s changing or what isn’t changing in college athletics. I know that gives us the best possible opportunity to position Iowa State University for what comes next.”
Pollard said it wasn’t a time for Iowa State fans to panic.
“Our industry is in a complete state of flux,” he said, “and quite frankly every institution should be evaluating where they are and how things are going to look as this landscape continues to change, from the Supreme Court ruling [on amateurism] to the NIL to the NCAA and to the College Football Playoff.”
Oklahoma State president Kayse Shrum said Monday that Oklahoma’s intentions to explore leaving the Big 12 are “the result of months of planning with the SEC” and a “clear breach” of the conference bylaws.
Shrum made the comments in a statement and in a series of tweets. In the statement, she called Oklahoma’s actions “strategic” and “deliberate.”
“It is difficult to understand how an Oklahoma institution of higher education would follow the University of Texas to the detriment of the State of Oklahoma,” added Shrum, who took over as president on July 1.
The breach claim is in reference to Section 3.2 of the Big 12’s bylaws, which references third parties attempting to induce a member institution to leave. It requires schools to inform the conference no later than 12 hours afterward, and to “immediately and unconditionally reject that offer in a form and manner reasonably acceptable to the Commissioner.”
Sports Illustrated first reported details about the SEC presidents and chancellors meeting.
ESPN’s Dave Wilson contributed to this report.