The newspaper cited a “high-ranking official with knowledge of the situation” and said an announcement could come in the next couple of weeks. Adding two members would give the powerhouse SEC 16 teams, the largest in major college football.
Questions about the report were greeted by a series of no comments from the primary parties involved, but no denials.
“I’m talking about the 2021 season,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said as Day 3 of the SEC’s four-day football talk-fest in Hoover, Ala., wound down.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, whose 10-member league would suffer a major blow with such defections, did not return messages from AP seeking comment.
“The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly,” Oklahoma said in a statement. “We don’t address every anonymous rumor.”
A Texas statement offered a similar response: “Speculation always swirls around collegiate athletics. We will not address rumors or speculation.”
Any move to leave the Big 12 would be complicated by an agreement its schools made after the last round of realignment to hand their media rights over to the league through their current television deals. The grant of rights lines up with the Big 12′s contracts with Fox and ESPN and runs through the 2024-25 school year.
Back in 2010, the then Pac-10 — led by new commissioner Larry Scott — tried to woo Texas and five other Big 12 schools into the West Coast-based conference to form a Pac-16.
Texas stayed put and instead started its own television network. After another flirtation between Texas, Oklahoma and Scott, Texas A&M bolted for the SEC in 2012 and Missouri followed the Aggies.
The Big 12, which had already lost Nebraska to Big Ten and Colorado to the now Pac-12, managed to hang on by inviting TCU and West Virginia.
College sports was turned upside down for about three years as conferences jockeyed to fortify themselves and schools scrambled to not be left out.
The Big East was poached right out of the major…