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OU football: Oklahoma, Texas reach out to SEC about joining conference, per Houston Chronicle

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Spencer Rattler

Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) is tackled from behind by Texas Longhorns linebacker Joseph Ossai (46) during the first quarter of the Red River Showdown at Cotton Bowl on Oct. 10.

Oklahoma and Texas have reached out to the SEC about potentially joining the conference, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle's Brent Zwerneman.

Zwerneman's report states a "high-ranking college official with knowledge of the situation" told the Chronicle on Wednesday. It also says an announcement concerning the two schools leaving the Big 12 for the SEC will come "within a couple of weeks."

Through a university spokesperson, OU released the following statement on the matter at 4:44 p.m. on Wednesday: “The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly. We don't address every anonymous rumor."

Similarly, UT released the following through a spokesperson: "Speculation swirls around collegiate athletics. We will not address rumors or speculation."

The Big 12 formed in 1994 but did not begin conference play until 1996. The Sooners and Longhorns have been a part of the conference since its creation. The Sooners were a member of Big Eight conference from 1920-1995. 

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, whose team has won the last six Big 12 championships and 14 overall, said the program has "a lot of respect" for the conference at Big 12 Media Days on July 14.

"It takes so much (to win in the Big 12)," Riley said. "Everybody's a good coach, everybody has good players. Each year is so different, each game is so different. We're excited about some of the success we’ve had, but we know that’s not going to make a lot of difference in this coming year.”

The SEC, formed in 1932, added former Big 12 schools Texas A&M and Missouri in 2012. When asked about the Chronicle's report at SEC Media Days on July 21, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the conference is "only worried about the 2021 season" and that "somebody dropped a report from unnamed people."

Oklahoma State, whose in-state rivalry game with OU would likely be in jeopardy if the Sooners depart for the SEC, also released a statement Wednesday.

"If true, we would be gravely disappointed," OSU wrote. "While we place a premium on history, loyalty and trust, be assured, we will aggressively defend and advance what is best for Oklahoma State and our strong athletic program, which continues to excel in the Big 12 nationally."

Oklahoma opens its 2021 season at 11 a.m. on Sept. 4 in New Orleans at Tulane.

Chandler Engelbrecht is a journalism senior and the Daily's assistant sports editor. He currently covers OU football and has previously covered OU men's basketball, volleyball and men's gymnastics.

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