COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KXAN) — The Texas A&M Board of Regents announced it is directing university leadership to vote in favor of extending formal invitations to the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas for membership into the Southeastern Conference.
According to a press release, the board “concluded that this expansion would enhance the long-term value of the SEC to student athletes and all of the institutions they represent — including Texas A&M.”
Presidents and chancellors for SEC member schools are expected to vote on Texas and Oklahoma’s request for membership into the conference Thursday.
SEC bylaws require 11 of the 14 current member schools to vote to approve the move, but it’s expected that it will be a unanimous vote.
The release says the Texas A&M Board “had concerns about the communication process” related to Texas and Oklahoma’s move to the SEC. However, the release says “the Board received the information it needed to properly consider the long-term ramifications of a possible expansion” after being briefed by Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks and athletic director Ross Bjork.
Texas A&M’s messaging toward the potential move has changed since initial reports of the move at SEC Media Days.
In an interview with ESPN’s Paul Finebaum during Texas A&M’s time at SEC Media Days, Bjork maintained that Texas A&M wants to be the only Texas school in the SEC.
“I was caught off guard. There’s a reason why we left the Big 12 back in 2011. We wanted to have a standalone identity in the state of Texas. The SEC has been a perfect fit for us, and we believe that we want to maintain that same identity. Perhaps there’s a reason that Oklahoma and Texas are looking around, if that’s the case. There’s a lot of uncertainty in college athletics. I think this type of story fuels that a little bit. From our perspective, we love being in the SEC, and we love being the only program in the state of Texas, and we’re going to maintain that position, but we’re also going to make sure that we are a leader in college athletics, and we’ll see what the future holds,” Bjork told ESPN’s Finebaum.
On Monday, Texas and Oklahoma informed the Big 12 they wouldn’t be renewing their media deals with the conference beyond their expiration in 2025. The next day, the schools formally asked for an invitation to the SEC.