Oklahoma and Texas will officially join the Southeastern Conference in 2024, one year earlier than initially anticipated, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced in an official statement shared Thursday (February 9) night.
"The Southeastern Conference learned today of the decision by the Big 12 Conference to alter the membership exit date for the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas," Sankey said via SECSports.com. "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 Big 12 Conference reportedly approved the schools' early departure as part of a $100 million agreement, ESPN's Heather Dinich reports.
"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," said Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark in a statement obtained by ESPN. "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."
Oklahoma and Texas officially accepted future invitations to join the SEC in August 2021 and were initially scheduled to depart upon the expiration of their contracts with the Big 12 on June 30, 2025.
In September, the SEC reportedly "directed" the Tennessee and Georgia to "postpone" previously scheduled home-and-home non-conference matchups against Oklahoma ahead of the latter joining the conference, ESPN reported at the time.
Georgia was previously scheduled to face Oklahoma in 2023 and 2031, while Tennessee was set to host the Sooners in 2024 and travel to Norman to make up a game canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, which would have taken place after the Sooners joined the conference.
The conference claimed the cancelations were due to the latter games in each series taking place "after Oklahoma joins the SEC in 2025."