Tennessee vs Texas in Knoxville. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics.
The Big 12 conference officially announced on Thursday afternoon that the exit date for the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma has been altered. The new exit date officially paves the way for Texas and Oklahoma to join the Southeastern Conference on July 1, 2024.
Prior to this announcement from the Big 12 conference on Thursday, the SEC’s presidents and chancellors had unanimously accepted to welcome both schools into the conference on July 1, 2025.
However, with the Big 12 altering the exit date, the SEC has now authorized the addition for the summer of 2024.
According to ESPN’s Heather Dinich on Thursday, “the agreement is subject to the final approval from the Oklahoma and Texas governing boards.”
The SEC will boast 16 teams after Texas and Oklahoma are officially welcomed into the conference:
Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Texas, and Oklahoma.
The SEC’s expansion is just one of a few major events happening in 2024. USC and UCLA will also begin Big Ten play in 2024. Additionally, the College Football Playoff will start the 12-team format that year as well.
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While there is no definitive direction announced regarding football scheduling, the widespread notion is that the SEC will abolish the division format and move to one big 16-team league with a 3-6 scheduling model. The model would allow each team three permanent rivals while the remaining 12 teams get cycled through, six and six, every other year.
That specific 3-6 model would essentially get rid of a few rivalries that many fans are used to seeing consistently based on the divisional format, but it would also allow significantly more meetings with other teams in the conference – home and away – in a much quicker fashion.
On one more football note – based on the way that both teams are currently tracking, it looks as though No. 1 overall quarterback Nico Iamaleava and No. 2 overall quarterback Arch Manning could be officially starting for Tennessee and Texas, respectively, in the first year of the SEC 16-team conference in 2024.
Full statement from the SEC on Twitter:
“The Southeastern Conference learned today of the direction by the Big 12 conference to alter the membership exit date for the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas. We are continuing our preparation for the 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.”
Statement from @SEC Commissioner @GregSankey on Oklahoma and Texas membership transition: pic.twitter.com/qZZI6YaRJp
— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) February 10, 2023