Texas and Oklahoma formally filed notice to leave the Big 12 on Monday. A number of hoops still need jumping through before the Longhorns and Sooners can call themselves neighbors and peers with the Crimson Tide, Gators and the like, but those hoops are quickly aligning.
The schools can't gain admittance to college sports' most exclusive club without first applying, and that happened today.
SEC presidents and chancellors will meet on Thursday to discuss the impending addition of the Red River rivals, according to ESPN. It remains to be seen whether a formal vote will take place during that meeting. "There's a lot to do in a short amount of time in order to get to a vote by Thursday," a source told ESPN.
For instance, Texas and Oklahoma still have to wiggle their way out of the Big 12's grant of rights, which runs through 2024-25. The SEC must also work with ESPN to re-negotiate its contract. The Worldwide Leader is set to take over all of the SEC's TV rights beginning in 2023 but if OU and UT join in 2022, as seems to be their stated desire, will CBS have to pay extra to put those schools on their air in the final year of that contract? Or would ESPN just buy CBS out of its Game of the Week contract a year early?
And, as if there was any doubt, the 16-team SEC will generate eye-popping revenues. According to USA Today, the league could earn $1.3 billion, with a B, by 2024-25.
Texas and OU will require 11 votes to gain admittance, and thus far there's no indication they'll have trouble getting to that number. In fact, things wouldn't have gotten this far if there was any doubt.
“One thing I know is that those are impressive universities, academically and with their tradition,” South Carolina president Harris Pastides told the Charleston Post & Courier. “When I will look at my personal decision, it’s not merely their athletic competitiveness or the business part of the decision, but would they be worthy peers and colleagues to the conference. So there’s a lot a lot to think about going forward. I’m sure it’ll play out in the next few days.”
On Friday, both Texas and Oklahoma could receive the official rubber stamp to join the SEC.
There's still a lot to sort out in a short amount of time, but Texas and Oklahoma could, in theory, officially be on track to join the SEC by this Friday.
What a time to be alive.