Oklahoma Board of Regents Approves Move to the SEC

The OU Board of Regents officially put their rubber stamp on the move to the SEC, accepting the conference's invitation.

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Sooners are officially headed to the SEC.

A day after Oklahoma’s petition to join the Southeastern Conference was approved 14-0 by the SEC Presidents and Chancellors, the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents put their rubber stamp on the move.

Friday morning at the OU Health and Sciences center, Oklahoma's Board of Regents accepted the SEC's invitation by a vote of 8-0.

After sticking with the Big 12 in the last bout of conference realignment, University of Oklahoma President Joseph Harroz Jr. said the landscape of college athletics is totally different today, facilitating the need to move to the SEC.

“What’s changed between 2012 and today? The answer is everything,” Harroz said in a near 25-minute speech ahead of the announcement of the Board of Regents’ decision.

Harroz went on to cite the change in television dynamics, the new slew of Name, Image and Likeness legislation, the recruiting landscape and the financial impact of COVID on athletic programs across the country as a few of the many reasons the Sooners are making the move to the SEC. 

Finally official, the move has sent shockwaves through collegiate athletics since the news leaked last Wednesday at SEC Media Days.

Earlier Friday morning, the University of Texas Board of Regents approved the move for the Longhorns, cementing that the pair of rivals would be headed into the uncharted waters together.

The additions of OU and Texas grows the SEC membership to 16 teams, while the remaining eight teams are now scrambling for a landing spot in the ever-changing landscape of college athletics.

“I have the utmost respect for my colleagues and counterparts in the Big 12. There are quite simply remarkable people,” Harroz said. “I want my colleagues to know that we did not embark on this lightly.”

Though the timeline wasn’t what Oklahoma had planned, Harroz said Oklahoma wanted to move swiftly after the news broke.

“As it broke, the very clear message from our friends in the Big 12 was, whatever you’re going to do, please do it quickly.”

In the midst of the move, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby has issued a Cease and Desist to ESPN, claiming that the network has been meddling in an attempt to reshuffle the deck in a violation of the conference’s bylaws.

Oklahoma and Texas have announced their intention to jump to the SEC after their grant of media rights with the Big 12 expires on June 30, 2025, but it seems unlikely that the Sooners and the ‘Horns will compete in the SEC before the 2025 academic year, as the situation with the Big 12 feels untenable. 

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