The inclusion of Oklahoma and Texas into the SEC is becoming more of a formality with every passing day.
The Texas A&M Board of Regents officially announced their approval of the league's expansion on Wednesday night. That approval comes a week after A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said the Aggies wanted to be the only school in the conference from Texas and a day before all 14 SEC presidents are set to meet to potentially vote to add OU and UT.
"The board concluded that this expansion would enhance the long-term value of the SEC to student athletes and all of the institutions they represent — including Texas A&M," a letter from the board said.
"Therefore the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents Board directs Texas A&M president M. Katherine Banks to vote in favor of extending formal invitations to the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas to join the conference in 2025 when the SEC presidents consider the matter."
You'll see that Texas A&M's letter frames the addition of the two other schools as beneficial for athletes at A&M and across the SEC. While that may be true in some senses, let's not kid ourselves. Oklahoma and Texas want to join the SEC and the SEC wants the two schools to join because it will lead to increased revenues for everyone involved.
Was A&M really going to stand in the way?
While Bjork said that A&M didn't want Texas in the league, it's hard to believe that A&M would actually dissent against their former Big 12 rivals joining the league when it came time for a vote. Money talks, and A&M will get to make more money from the SEC and capitalize on the income from a renewed football series with Texas. The two in-state rivals haven't played each other since A&M left the Big 12.
It also stands to reason that the schools will play each other sooner than 2025. That year mentioned in the letter is when Oklahoma and Texas are free to join another conference, though it's certain that the schools will attempt to negotiate an earlier exit from the Big 12 by buying out their anticipated future revenue from the conference.
Big 12's cease and desist
A&M's vote comes on the same day the Big 12 sent ESPN a cease and desist letter regarding conference expansion. ESPN owns the SEC Network and the rights to other conference events — including some from the Big 12. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby accused the network of talking with another conference about poaching other schools from the Big 12 after Texas and Oklahoma leave. With eight schools remaining outside of OU and UT, the Big 12 is currently in a vulnerable position.
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