AUSTIN (KXAN) —Texas and Oklahoma are reportedly considering a move that could rock the college football landscape and start another saga of realignment in college athletics.
Brent Zwerneman from the Houston Chronicle was first to report that Longhorns and Sooners leadership have reached out on a potential move from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference.
Additionally, Zwerneman reports an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, according to a “high-ranking college official.”
A University of Texas spokesperson told KXAN — “speculation always swirls around collegiate athletics. We will not address rumors or speculation.”
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey had “no comment” on the rumor.
Ralph Russo from the Associated Press reports a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed that Texas and Oklahoma have had discussions with SEC officials about joining the conference. However, they aren’t at the stage of formal invitations.
Russo added that the talks were sparked by Texas officials.
Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher was asked about the report Wednesday at SEC media days.
“I bet they would. I’m just worried about A&M. We got the greatest league in ball, that’s the choices they make or what they do, but I don’t know how I feel about it,” Fisher said.
According to 2020-21 SEC bylaws, “a vote of at least three-fourths of the members is required to extend an invitation for membership.”
In an interview with ESPN’s Paul Finebaum, Texas A&M Athletics Director Ross 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.
If Texas and Oklahoma were to abandon the Big 12, the Longhorns and Aggies would be reunited on the playing field once again effectively creating college football’s first super conference with 16 teams.
The start of the Big 12 and past realignment
The Big 12 conference was officially founded in 1994 with 12 member schools. Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas Tech left the former Southwest Conference to join the Big 8 conference schools: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State.
Ten years ago, the conference began to shift.
Texas A&M announced it would leave the Big 12 for the SEC as multiple former Big 12 schools began to jump other conferences. Nebraska and Colorado were first to jump from the Big 12 in 2010, going to the Big Ten and Pac 12 respectively. Missouri announced its departure to the SEC in late 2011.
Down to eight teams, the Big 12 began its search for replacements — ultimately inviting TCU and West Virginia to join.