The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents met today and unanimously authorized proceedings that allow the university to join the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in 2025 after the expiration of the Big 12 Conference’s current media rights agreements.
“The board’s action today is undoubtedly one of the most significant decisions in our more than a century of athletics and is of true importance to the broader university,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “We believe that joining the Southeastern Conference will sustain our tradition of national-caliber athletics excellence, strengthen our flagship university as a whole and serve the wider interests of the state of Oklahoma. The entire Sooner Nation and Oklahomans throughout the state stand to benefit from this move, and we’re thrilled for a new platform to tell the OU story all across the country.”
University of Oklahoma Athletics Director Joe Castiglione issued the following statement:
“This decision today allows us to ensure we’re doing all we can to further OU’s long-standing record of athletics excellence; attracting top student-athletes from across the country and giving this institution the exposure it deserves. The special history, energy and character OU will bring to the SEC will only make us, and our new conference, stronger.”
“The entire university thrives when our athletics program thrives,” said OU Board Chair Michael A. Cawley. “The OU Board of Regents proudly stands behind this essential move to best position the University of Oklahoma and Sooner Athletics for stability and excellence. We are confident that by taking control of our own destiny and joining the SEC, OU will be in the best possible position to continue advancing our institution’s overall mission.”
The University of Oklahoma Department of Intercollegiate Athletics sponsors 21 varsity sports programs (nearly 600 student-athletes) that compete at the NCAA Division I level and as members of the Big 12 Conference, except for men’s gymnastics, which belongs to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. OU’s athletics programs have combined for 39 all-time NCAA team championships, with 20 of those coming under current Athletics Director Joe Castiglione and with 13 earned since the start of the 2012-13 academic year. Men’s gymnastics paces the university’s sports programs with 12 national team titles and is followed by football (7), wrestling (7), softball (5), women’s gymnastics (4), baseball (2) and men’s golf (2). The sport of football has produced a nation-leading 50 all-time conference championships and is tied for the all-time lead with seven Heisman Trophy winners and five No. 1 overall NFL Draft picks. OU student-athletes have won 14 male or female Big 12 Athlete of the Year honors in the league’s first 25 years, including 10 such accolades over the last nine years. Living up to its Inspiring Champions Today, Preparing Leaders for Tomorrow mantra, OU Athletics also has a track record of excellence outside of competition. Student-athletes have registered a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher each of the last 19 semesters, including a department-record-tying 3.19 figure during the spring 2021 term.
Details will continue to be finalized with both conferences. OU’s current Grant of Rights agreements and the Big 12’s media rights agreements expire in June 2025.