Birmingham, Ala. — The Presidents and Chancellors of the Southeastern Conference voted unanimously on Thursday to extend membership invitations to the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas, the conference announced.
Should the invitations be accepted by the two invited institutions as is expected, the two programs would join the conference effective July 1, 2025.
The presidents of the two institutions along with the presidents and chancellors of the SEC's 14 universities joined conference commissioner Greg Sankey via teleconference. The meeting took place after both potential new member institutions submitted requests to be admitted to the conference earlier this week.
"Today's unanimous vote is both a testament to the SEC's longstanding spirit of unity and mutual cooperation, as well as a recognition of the outstanding legacies of academic and athletic excellence established by the Universities of Oklahoma and Texas," Sankey said in a statement. "I greatly appreciate the collective efforts of our Presidents and Chancellors in considering and acting upon each school's membership interest."
The extension of invitations happened in accordance with the SEC Bylaw 3.1.2, which authorizes the conference's CEOs to extend invitations should at least three-fourths of the member institutions vote to approve.
With the unanimous voting, the motion passed the vote with flying colors.
During last week's SEC Media Days, news broke that both Oklahoma and Texas had approached the SEC about joining the conference. However, Sankey declined to comment on the matter as rumors began to circulate as to the validity of the claims.
On Tuesday, the two universities issued a joint statement expressing that both institutions had applied for membership in the conference, bringing the rumors to an end.
"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."
While Alabama football coach Nick Saban did not express his opinion on the matter aside from reminding the general public that the decision was not his to make, Crimson Tide basketball coach Nate Oats was quick to comment.
“I think it makes our league a lot stronger,” Oats said on The Paul Finebaum Show. “Those are two high-level basketball programs. I don’t have anything to do with any of those decisions — when they come in, if they come in, any of that. I think we’ve got the best commissioner in college athletics in Greg Sankey, and I think he’ll make great decisions for our league. But if and when they were to come in our league, I think they’ve got eight combined Final Fours.
“I think it’s gonna make our league a lot tougher. I’m looking forward to playing tough teams, but it’ll definitely upgrade the overall talent in our league and make it an even better basketball league.”
Thursday afternoon's vote is by no means the end to the process. Both Oklahoma and Texas are expected to accept their invitations, but the formal acceptance has yet to be announced. Should they accept, the SEC will expand to 16 teams and a conference realignment will likely be in the works.
Here is the full, official statement released by the Southeastern Conference:
SEC Extends Membership Invitations to University of Oklahoma and University of Texas
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (July 29, 2021) - The Presidents and Chancellors of the Southeastern Conference on Thursday voted unanimously today to extend membership invitations to the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas to join the SEC effective July 1, 2025, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2025-26 academic year.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey communicated the invitations to the respective presidents of the two universities following today's videoconference meeting of the Conference's Presidents and Chancellors. The meeting was convened after the two universities submitted separate requests for membership invitations to the SEC on Tuesday, July 27.
"Today's unanimous vote is both a testament to the SEC's longstanding spirit of unity and mutual cooperation, as well as a recognition of the outstanding legacies of academic and athletic excellence established by the Universities of Oklahoma and Texas," said Commissioner Sankey. "I greatly appreciate the collective efforts of our Presidents and Chancellors in considering and acting upon each school's membership interest."
Today's actions are in accordance with SEC Bylaw 3.1.2, which authorizes the Chief Executive Officers of the Conference to extend invitations for membership if at least three-fourths of its 14 member institutions vote to approve.