Texas and Oklahoma have inquired about joining the SEC and an announcement about a possible expansion to 16 teams could come "within a couple weeks," according to a report Wednesday from the Houston Chronicle.
The report raises more questions than answers -- namely, that the Big 12 powers have a grant of rights to that conference that runs through June 30, 2025, the end of that league's current television contracts. Such an arrangement, barring legal jiu jitsu, ties any television monies earned by the two schools to the Big 12 which ostensibly make them worthless to the SEC or any other conference so long as the contract is in place.
More than anything, joining the SEC would be an institutional about-face and admission of defeat by both schools. Texas has been locked in a decade-long cold war with its rival -- the two have not met on the gridiron since 2011, but have played in every other sport -- and so joining the SEC would be an admission on UT's part that the Aggies won the divorce.
Oklahoma, for its part, has no love in its heart for the SEC. The Sooners have turned the Big 12 into their fiefdom, winning six straight conference titles and reaching the Playoff four times. They've lost all four CFP semifinals, falling to the SEC champion in the 2017, '18 and '19 seasons. Joining the SEC would be the ultimate "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" shrug on OU's part.
Furthermore, Texas (and Oklahoma) joining the conference would happen over the objection of Texas A&M.
After experiencing instant success in Johnny Manziel's Heisman season of 2012, the Aggies have been a mid-tier SEC football power -- until now. A&M won the Orange Bowl in 2020 and enter this coming season with the third-best odds to win the league. After nearly a decade, Texas A&M is just now finding its footing -- only to, in theory, see its place in college football's ultimate jungle upended again.
A&M went 5-11 against Oklahoma as Big 12 bunk mates, though the Aggies did win the only post-realignment meeting in the 2013 Cotton Bowl. Texas holds a 76-37-5 advantage in a series now going on its 10th season of silence.
Adding Texas and Oklahoma would put the winners of 13 of the last 21 national champions under the same roof. OU and UT also reached the BCS title games in the 2008 and '09 seasons, respectively, falling to SEC schools (and future conference bunk mates?) Florida and Alabama.
If the move happens, nine of the SEC's 16(!!!) teams would rank among the top-19 nationally in all-time wins, including three of the top six. Equally important, it would put nine of the top 12 brands in college football, according to a 2019 Wall Street Journal analysis, within one TV-ready conglomerate. Such an entity would separate the SEC from the rival Big Ten, obliterate the ACC and Pac-12, while leaving the Big 12 on life support as a power conference.
As it happens, Wednesday's report drops 10 years after serious rumblings of A&M's eventual move to the SEC first began.
In addition to Texas A&M, the move would also reunite Texas with former Southwest Conference rival Arkansas and OU with former Big 8 rival Missouri. (I use rival in the lightest sense there; OU is 67-24-5 against the Tigers.) As it happens, Texas and Arkansas will meet in Fayetteville on Sept. 11 for the sixth meeting since the Hogs left the SWC for the SEC in 1992.
Sankey's quote is not a confirmation, but it's not a denial.
This is a developing story. Check back for more.