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OU, Texas agree to leave Big 12 for SEC in 2024, a year earlier than previously announced

Gaylord memorial Stadium

Gaylord memorial Stadium during the 25th NROTC "Run to Dallas" on Oct. 5.

Oklahoma and Texas have agreed to leave the Big 12 for the SEC after the 2023-24 sports calendar, the Big 12 announced Thursday. The move is a year earlier than the previously announced departure.

According to the Big 12's release, OU and UT owe the conference a combined $100 million in fees for the early exit. Both schools will be able to partially offset the cost with future revenue earned.

"We are grateful to Commissioner Yormark and Chairman Schovanec for their concerted efforts to carve a path forward that allows us all to move ahead with clarity and certainty," Oklahoma President Joseph Harroz said. "With the new era of collegiate athletics fully upon us, an opportunity emerged for all parties involved to explore the value of an early departure.

"These terms further guarantee the sustainability, stability, competitiveness and excellence of us all. The exciting matchups and passionate rivalries of the past quarter century will always be a celebrated part of our shared history. We look forward to showcasing that intensity this season, next season and beyond.”

Harroz also released a university-wide statement regarding Oklahoma's withdrawal, which awaits final approval by OU's Board of Regents.

"With this agreement to join the SEC in 2024, we have immediate clarity and command of our own future," Harroz wrote. "It gives us the chance to quickly reap the benefits of this transition – from exciting competition on the finest stage in collegiate sports to a top-tier fan experience, to more appealing game times and a greater national visibility that will allow us to share the OU story to people across the country.

"Moving to the SEC will most obviously impact OU Athletics, but this move will ultimately benefit our entire university, as it affords us the ability to aggressively invest in our academic and research missions. Our Strategic Plan includes our ambition to join the Association of American Universities – a prestigious coalition of tier one research universities – and moving into a conference with more AAU institutions offers an opportunity to align OU to our aspirational peers."

Newly added programs Houston, UCF, Cincinnati and BYU join the Big 12 for the 2023-24 season. The Sooners and Longhorns will play one season against the new schools before leaving.

“As I have consistently stated, the Conference would only agree to an early withdrawal if it was in our best interest for Oklahoma and Texas to depart prior to June 30, 2025,” Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said. “By reaching this agreement, we are now able to accelerate our new beginning as a 12-team league and move forward in earnest with our initiatives and future planning.

"I appreciate the approaches of OU President Joe Harroz and UT President Jay Hartzell to ensure an amicable conclusion to this process and look forward to the bright days ahead for the Big 12 Conference.”

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey also released a statement following the announcement.

"We are continuing our preparation for this membership transition, and we look forward to welcoming the conference's new members and moving into our future as a 16-team league.

"The presidents and chancellors of the SEC previously voted with unanimous approval to accept the application of Oklahoma and Texas to join the conference on July 1, 2025, and have now authorized the conference office to proceed with facilitating the transition of Oklahoma and Texas to become full members of the Southeastern Conference on July 1, 2024."

The release states the decision was made based on Big 12 members working toward a solution that helped both conferences, and details continue to be finalized.

The Big 12 was the last Power Five Conference to announce its 2023-24 schedule, with OU and Texas reportedly working toward leaving for the SEC early, according to Action Network's Brett McMurphy on Feb. 3, three days after the schedule release.

It was later reported that an agreement was reached for both schools to leave for the SEC early, but ESPN and Fox, the TV providers for the Big 12, were unsatisfied with the terms.

"Our nearly three-decade tenure in the Big 12 has brought us many historic rivalries and exhilarating memories with esteemed opponents, and we look forward to finishing our remaining time in the league with intensity and sportsmanship," Harroz wrote in the conclusion of his letter. "As we prepare to face our new conference rivals next year, we are eager to contribute our iconic traditions and competitiveness to the SEC."

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