Oklahoma President Joseph Harroz and Texas President Jay Hartzell formally sent SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey a formal request for membership to the conference on Tuesday.
"The University of Oklahoma and The University of Texas at Austin (the “Universities”) request invitations for membership to the Southeastern Conference (the “SEC”) starting on July 1, 2025," the request said. "We believe that there would be mutual benefit to the Universities on the one hand, and the SEC on the other hand, for the Universities to become members of the SEC.
"We look forward to the prospect of discussions regarding this matter."
The SEC will also meet to discuss the future potential additions of OU and Texas to the conference on Thursday, a source with knowledge told ESPN on Tuesday.
SEC presidents and chancellors have scheduled a meeting for Thursday, in which they will discuss expansion and whether to add Oklahoma and Texas, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to ESPN. https://t.co/HyAZ2Jh245 pic.twitter.com/6XTJQJM1sT— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 27, 2021
Sankey later released a statement on potentially adding the Sooners and Longhorns, acknowledging the request made.
"While the SEC has not proactively sought new members, we will pursue significant change when there is a clear consensus among our members that such actions will further enrich the experiences of our student-athletes and lead to greater academic and athletic achievement across our campuses," his statement read.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby also released a statement Tuesday, disclosing the Big 12 learned of the situation.
"The events of recent days have verified that the two schools have been contemplating and planning for the transition for months and this formal application is the culmination of those processes," Bowlsby statement read. "We are unwavering in the belief that the Big 12 provides an outstanding platform for its members’ athletic and academic success. We will face the challenges head-on, and we have confidence that the Big 12 will continue to be a vibrant and successful entity in the near term and into the foreseeable future."
Hours after ESPN’s report, OU’s Board of Regents announced it will hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss conference membership. UT’s board of regents later announced it will do the same.
The Sooners and Longhorns released a joint statement on Monday informing the Big 12 they wouldn't renew their grant of rights agreement, which expires in 2025.
The statement included the school's plan to honor the current grant of rights, but added "both universities will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving collegiate landscape as they consider how best to position their athletics programs for the future.”
OU and Texas were original members of the Big 12, which formed in 1994 before conference play started in 1996. The Sooners and Longhorns rank first and second in all-time conference titles with 14 and three, respectively.