As administrators from across the Big 12 joined a conference call to discuss Wednesday's bombshell report that flagship members Texas and Oklahoma are seeking to leave the league for the SEC, there were two notable absences: Texas and Oklahoma.
Neither school had a representative on the call, per SI's Ross Dellenger, which was set up to discuss Wednesday's news that the two schools had reached out to the SEC about changing conferences. Though they were not in attendance, they remained the center of discussion.
According to CBS Sports' Matt Norlander, the two programs are expected to declare their intention to leave the conference in as soon as "24-48 hours."
Other Big 12 administrators are fixated on learning why Texas and Oklahoma want to leave, and plan on reaching out to representatives from each school. The proposed move is being initiated by the Texas Board of Regents, though a Big 12 exit is not considered to be imminent.
In a statement to SI, the Big 12 expressed its desire to keep the current 10 members intact, noting that the conference has proven it can compete at the highest level under the "current composition."
“Oklahoma and Texas are founding members of the Big 12 and we value their traditions and history of success," the statement read. "...There is a recognition that institutions may act in their own self-interest, however there is an expectation that members adhere to Conference bylaws and the enforcement of Grant of Rights agreements.”
If a move were to go through, that would give the SEC 16 members. Texas and Oklahoma would need a 75% majority vote from the current 14 schools if the process reached that point.
The news was met with objection by Texas A&M on Wednesday, as athletic director Ross Bjork said the school wants to be, "the only SEC team in the state of Texas." Oklahoma State took a similarly negative stance, saying in a statement that if the news were true, "we would be gravely disappointed."
Commissioner Greg Sankey informed SEC presidents when the talks grew more serious, sources told Dellenger. Once Oklahoma and Texas notify the Big 12 of their departure (if they choose to do so) and submit an application for membership of the SEC, the presidents can immediately take action. Eleven votes are needed and so far, only one program—Texas A&M—appears to be in opposition.
However, sources also told Dellenger that there may be one other option for the Longhorns if the SEC does not pan out—the ACC.
Wednesday's report calls back to the most recent time of a potential exodus from the Big 12. Texas and Oklahoma both came close to leaving the conference after the 2010 season, but the pair of programs eventually stayed put as Missouri and Texas A&M left for the SEC.
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