Big 12 leaders meet with Texas, OU presidents in attempt to ‘strengthen’ conference

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Bob Bowlsby

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is shown on the giant screen as he speaks during NCAA college football Big 12 media days Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

IRVING, Texas (KXAN) — Big 12 leadership, including commissioner Bob Bowlsby, met “cordially” with University of Oklahoma President Joe Harroz and University of Texas President Jay Hartzell on Sunday to strengthen the Big 12 conference together, according to a release from the conference.

Commissioner Bowlsby said in a statement that “the Executive Committee expressed a willingness to discuss proposals that would strengthen the Conference and be mutually beneficial to OU and UT, as well as the other member institutions of the Conference.”

The release comes ahead of reports that Texas and Oklahoma will tell the conference they won’t extend their grant-of-rights agreements with the league beyond 2025 on Monday — essentially allowing the two schools to seek membership in a new conference.

In the release, Bowlsby said “I expect that we will continue our conversations in the days ahead and we look forward to discussing thoughts, ideas and concepts that may be of shared interest and impact.”

Texas and OU are expected to engage the Southeastern Conference about membership into the league after the grant-of-rights declaration.

Big 12 athletic directors, university presidents and chancellors held a call last week on Texas and OU’s potential move to the SEC. UT and OU leadership didn’t participate in the call, according to The Associated Press.

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