Oklahoma issued a statement Wednesday afternoon in response to reports that the school, as well as rival Texas, has “reached out” to the SEC about changing conference allegiances.
“The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly,” OU said in a statement attributed to an unnamed university spokesman. “We don't address every anonymous rumor.”
The Houston Chronicle reported earlier Wednesday that OU and Texas were exploring membership in the SEC and, citing an unnamed source, said an announcement could be coming “within a couple of weeks.”
Meanwhile, Oklahoma State issued a lengthier statement about OU's potential departure.
"We have heard unconfirmed reports that OU and UT approached Southeastern Conference officials about joining the SEC," the OSU statement reads. "We are gathering information and will monitor closely. If true, we would be gravely disappointed. While we place a premium on history, loyalty and trust, be assured, we will aggressively defend and advance what is best for Oklahoma State and our strong athletic program, which continues to excel in the Big 12 and nationally."
OU and Texas are currently bound to the Big 12 by a grant-of-rights agreement that keeps members’ broadcast rights tied up through 2024-25. That’s also the same year the league’s agreements with Fox and ESPN expire.
Rumors that the Sooners and Longhorns might be interested in a move began to circulate last week.
When Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was asked at Big 12 Media Day last week about OU athletic director Joe Castiglione’s comments in May about being “bitterly disappointed” that the Sooners’ home game with Nebraska had been slated as yet another 11 a.m. kickoff for OU, Bowlsby seemed largely apathetic about Castiglione’s concerns.
“He’s certainly entitled to that position,” Bowlsby said, “and he and I talked about it extensively before he made those comments.
“Having said that, we all signed the TV contract. We can change it the next time if we want to change it. But we're going to live by the stipulations of our television agreements and that's what we did on this occasion.”