Sooners To Join The SEC After OU's Board Of Regents Accepts Conference's Invitation

Friday, July 30th 2021, 5:30 pm
By: Brittany Toolis

NORMAN, Oklahoma -

Changes were in the air for University of Oklahoma fans as the university's Board of Regents officially approved the move for the Sooners to the SEC.  

The vote ended a nine-day frenzy about the school's athletic future.

The Longhorns also accepted the invitation to the SEC. OU's president said the move will open the school up to a whole new pool of recruits both for athletics and academics.

"This is a move for stability, and preservation, and propagation," said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr.

The Sooners will soon be members of the SEC. Board members said they will honor the current contract with the Big 12 and won't make the switch until July 2025.

Harroz said a number of factors went into making this decision played a major role including the Big 12 listed as last in line to pick game time slots.

"If the premiere slots are already taken up, it impacts things in a material way, and it translates into disadvantages in recruiting top talent. A disadvantage to our student athletes and a detriment to the fan experience," Harroz said.

The variety of teams the Sooners will suit up against in the SEC was also a draw.

"When this comes to pass in the SEC, there is membership and therefore games and all the exposure in 12 states. We move from four to 12 states in terms of that exposure," Harroz said. "[It] is critically important in our ability to recruit student athletes of the highest caliber and recruit students more broadly, and faculty." 

University officials told fans not to worry, OU still wants to play Oklahoma State University in every sport and there will be nothing lackluster about the football rivalry.

"Just like we see in other states. The rivalries like Georgia-Georgia Tech, Clemson-South Carolina, Iowa-Iowa State, Florida-Florida State can endure," said OU's Athletic Director Joe Castiglione. 

Officials also said SEC fans are known to travel in droves to away games and the crowds will benefit both OU and Norman's bottom line.