July 30, 2021
Dear OU Family,
I’m pleased to share that the University of Oklahoma will join the SEC in the 2025 fall athletics season. This is an exciting moment for our university, and I want to take the opportunity to explain why we’ve come to this decision.
It’s no secret the landscape of college athletics is shifting and will continue to for the foreseeable future. With that as our reality, it’s our obligation as stewards of our institution to ensure that OU has a conference home that will best position us to honor, preserve, and continue our tradition of athletic excellence for decades to come.
We are confident that this transition will reap extraordinary success for our athletics program. We will be able to continue to attract top student-athlete talent from across the country. We’ll provide an even greater world-class fan experience. All told, we’ll set up our programs for even greater success – and be able to better tell the life-changing OU story all across the country. Without this bold move, we risk seriously weakening our athletics program – even to the point of needing to look to the academic arm of the university, or our state government, to subsidize athletics. We refuse to let that happen.
While this decision most obviously affects OU Athletics, it’s not just about our sports programs. We know this decision will benefit our entire university, advancing our purpose and important work. This move positions OU for success in fulfilling our Strategic Plan. Much of our plan speaks to our aspiration to become an AAU-caliber institution, with benchmarks based on the criteria by which AAU institutions are judged. A move into a conference with more AAU institutions provides us the chance to align OU further and more closely to the standards we will need to meet to reach our goal. Our Strategic Plan is ambitious and certainly requires a conference alignment that affords us the opportunity to aggressively invest in our academic mission.
We take immense pride in our time as a member of the Big 12, and the many successes we have enjoyed and the traditions we have built over the past 25 years. Included during that period are 20 national team championships, 101 conference championships and, in football, four Heisman Trophy winners and 113 NFL Draft picks.
We are grateful to our colleagues in the Big 12 for the remarkable time we have spent together as fellow conference members. We look forward to our remaining seasons as a member of the Big 12, and the fierce athletic competition they will bring. It’s our hope that some of our great rivalries within the Big 12 – particularly with Oklahoma State University – will live on for many more years to come.
We also look with excitement to the days ahead as we join the SEC. We believe the special Sooner Magic that we will bring to the SEC will only make us, and our new conference rivals, stronger. We eagerly anticipate facing off each year, in every NCAA sport, against some of the nation’s highest-caliber opponents.
There are, no doubt, several details to be considered and finalized over the coming months. But it’s with you, our OU family, that we move ahead confidently into a new chapter with eager anticipation for the future of the University of Oklahoma and OU Athletics.
Live On, University,
Joseph Harroz, Jr.