6:00pm: Sportsline with Tony Caridi

Oklahoma, Texas request invitation to join SEC in letter to Commissioner Greg Sankey

One day after both schools notified the Big 12 Conference they would not renew their grant of media rights with the league upon its expiration in 2025, Oklahoma and Texas have formally requested an invite to join the Southeastern Conference that same year.

The request came in a letter to SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey written by both Texas President Jay Hartzell and Oklahoma President Joseph Harroz, Jr.

It read: Dear Commissioner Sankey, The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Oklahoma (the “Universities”) request invitations for membership to the Southeastern Conference (the “SEC”) starting on July 1, 2025. We believe that there would be mutual benefit to the Universities on the one hand, and the SEC on the other hand, for the Universities to become members of the SEC.

We look forward to the prospect of discussions regarding this matter.

The Big 12’s grant of rights, which grants all media rights in football and men’s basketball to the conference, expires June 30, 2025.

Although the letter suggests Texas and Oklahoma will remain in the Big 12 until then, both schools will likely try and reach a settlement, albeit an expensive one, with the Big 12 before then in an effort to join the SEC.

Sankey issued a statement Tuesday, saying: The University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas, two esteemed academic institutions with storied athletics programs, today submitted formal requests for invitations to become members of the Southeastern Conference in 2025.

While the SEC has not proactively sought new members, we will pursue significant change when there is a clear consensus among our members that such actions will further enrich the experiences of our student-athletes and lead to greater academic and athletic achievement across our campuses. The Presidents and Chancellors of the SEC, in their capacity as the conference’s Chief Executive Officers, will consider these requests in the near future. Per the Bylaws of the SEC, a vote of at least three-fourths of the SEC’s 14 members is required to extend an invitation for membership.

Meanwhile, for the first time since news of another round of conference realignment surfaced last Wednesday, West Virginia University Athletic Director Shane Lyons spoke on the matter.

Lyons was not involved with West Virginia’s move from the Big East to the Big 12 back in 2012, which came under then-Athletic Director Oliver Luck.

Lyons became West Virginia’s AD in 2015 after he had been Alabama’s Deputy Director of Athletics from 2011-2015. Prior to that, Lyons served as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Associate Commissioner of Compliance and Governance.

It remains to be seen what happens with the other eight Big 12 schools left to figure out their future. If West Virginia was to seek membership into another conference, the ACC would likely be its top choice.

The ACC, which opted not to add West Virginia before it joined the Big 12, currently has 14 members in football and 15 in other sports. Notre Dame remains an independent in football, though ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips has it let be known the league would like to have ND as a member in all sports.

“They know the ACC’s interest,” Phillips said recently. “It’s been less than bashful. It’s been less than bashful since I’ve been here. But I also respect where they’re at. Our concentration right now is on our 14 schools. Who knows where the future’s going to go?”

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