Big 12 officials meet with UT, OU presidents amid reports of leaving for SEC


Big 12 officials met Sunday with the presidents of the University of Oklahoma and University of Texas, according to an email from the league office.

“The meeting was cordial, and 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,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a press release. “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.”

The meeting comes amid reports that OU and UT have inquired with the SEC about severing ties with the Big 12 and joining its conference, essentially making the SEC a "super conference." Sources have confirmed that early next week (Tuesday or Wednesday), both schools will jointly file a letter with the Big 12 and say they’re not going to renew their media rights.

The prospect of OU and UT leaving the Big 12 has sparked conversations about that starting a domino effect, effectively ending the Big 12 Conference as we know it. 

The Board of Regents at Texas A&M are also reportedly meeting on Monday for" discussion and possible action on contractual and governance issues relating to Texas A&M University and the Southeastern Conference."

Saturday afternoon, Texas A&M president Katherine Banks released a statement on the possibility of the SEC expanding. 

"The last few days have been challenging in many ways, and I recognize that change in college athletics is often unsettling for those who love their institutions," Banks said. "Rest assured, the chancellor, our athletic director, and I, and everyone involved in this matter are focused solely on what is best for Texas A&M University. Since 2011, we have been a proud member of the best intercollegiate athletic sports conference in history and we look forward to continued success in our SEC partnership for many years to come." 

Additionally, Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork issued the following statement to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. 

"The culture of any conference, but especially for A&M, that's the priority in this whole conversation," Bjork said. "I've been in the league 10 years. When I first sat down and met Mike Slive, it was about culture and collaboration, excellence on and off the field. That's what makes us the best conference. We've got to protect that.

"Look at A&M, We're stronger than ever. … Look at the landscape of college athletics. Who wouldn't want to join the SEC? Here in Texas, we've been able to pave the way. … Whoever joins, whenever they join, we're ready. We embrace it at the highest level. That's how we look at this.

"There is emotion, we get it. We're in a great state; we're in the best conference."

Members of the Texas House of Representatives have filed a bill that, if passed, will require legislative approval for any state school to move conferences. House chairmen Dustin Burrows, Greg Bonnen, Charlie Green and Jeff Leach filed House bill 298, which they urge to be addressed immediately. Will it matter? Reports say that Texas and Oklahoma will officially deliver their letters announcing their intent to leave the Big 12 as early as next week. If that's the case, lawmakers better be working through the weekend if they intend to put a halt to this ever-evolving saga.

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