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Official: SEC invites Oklahoma, Texas to become league's 15th and 16th members

The Red River rivals will formally accept the invitations on Friday

Presidents and chancellors from the SEC's 14 campuses formally extended invitations to the Universities of Oklahoma and Texas to become the league's 15th and 16th members, the conference announced Thursday.

The move was widely expected, completing months of work behind the scenes but is just the latest in what has become a whirlwind period in college sports since the move went public last Wednesday. The schools jointly applied for SEC membership on Tuesday. 

While the move was as good as done the moment the public learned about it, it truly became a fait accompli once Texas A&M -- a vocal opponent of the deal when it was first reported last week -- signaled its support over the weekend. 

Of note, the vote was unanimous. Greg Sankey offered, "I greatly appreciate the collective efforts of our Presidents and Chancellors in considering and acting upon each school's membership interest." 

Both schools will formally accept the invitation in meetings of their respective boards of regents on Friday. 

It remains to be seen when the Red River rivals will join the league, an addition that could be expedited by the possible implosion of the Big 12

The Red River rivals represent the SEC's third round of expansion over the past three decades. The league first expanded in 1990 with the additions of Arkansas and South Carolina, joining in the 1991 football season. Texas A&M and Missouri joined in 2011, beginning football in 2012.

Each move was monumental within the development and nationalization of college football as a major business entity, and this will be no different. Arkansas and South Carolina allowed the conference to split into divisions and stage Division I's first championship game, a move that gave the SEC an opportunity to showcase itself as college football's premier league. Texas A&M and Missouri brought with them the SEC Network, which skyrocketed the league's earnings while also ensconcing themselves with the most powerful entity in college athletics: ESPN. 

While the after effects of the Texas/Oklahoma earthquake are just beginning to be felt, the move was immediately heralded as the biggest single move in the history of modern college athletics, a harbinger to a new era of, perhaps, four 16-team super-conferences, a 2-superpower set up between the SEC and the Big Ten, or even the SEC and others breaking away from the NCAA entirely.

All of that, of course, remains to be seen, but what is already certain is this move will be one future observers point to as when college athletics entered a new, richer, more national, more commoditized era.