On page 15 of the SEC’s Articles of Association, under the heading of Section 3.1.2 “Membership Award,” it reads that “Membership may be granted at the invitation of the Conference at a meeting of the Chief Executive Officers. An invitation to membership requires a vote of at least three quarters of the members.”
Now that the membership is at 14 schools, a 3/4th vote 11 means ‘yes’. With the news coming out Oklahoma and Texas knock on Greg Sankey’s door (presumably long before Sankey would have liked), the SEC commissioner’s mission seems to be to gather those 11 votes and cement the first point of his legacy: the creator of the first Super Conference.
Will he be able to do that? Texas A&M, which supposedly brought this issue to light by sending a story to Texas A&M beat reporter Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle, currently stands as a hard “no.” Sports director Ross Bjork was at the SEC Media Days the day the story was published (coincidence?) and made strong statements against Texas joining the SEC.
But what about the rest of the competition?
Here’s a team-by-team overview, without the benefit of seeing the TV contracts yet to be determined, of how each school could vote if they had to vote immediately.
Alabama – Do you think the Crimson Tide is afraid of Oklahoma and Texas? The more prestige for the league, the better, and when it comes time to replace Nick Saban, you might as well be in charge of the biggest, best conference in the country.
Arkansas – The Razorbacks were overjoyed to emerge from the shadows of Texas (sound familiar?) when it left the Southwest Conference in 1992. However, that was 30 years ago. Rekindling that passionate but dormant rivalry would shock the program. Texas is coming to visit in September for the first time since 2004 and there is a lot of buzz for that game. It would be a circle-the-calendar event every time the Horns and Hogs hook up.
Florida – From a competitive standpoint, Florida may have some hesitation. SEC championships get even harder. But from a recruiting perspective, raising the league’s cache helps even further the in-state battles with Miami and Florida State for the best prospects in Florida.
Georgia – See Alabama when it comes to the fear factor. Georgia rightly sees itself as a national championship contender, and the addition of Texas and Oklahoma doesn’t change that. Bulldogs say bring it on.
Kentucky – Kentucky doesn’t necessarily need more football hurdles to become relevant, but the fact that in the event’s 29-year history it has never made it to the SEC championship game tells us the Wildcats are not around the corner. As for hoops, the UK would welcome Oklahoma and especially Texas, which is finally ready to take off under Chris Beard.
LSU – Another superpower that wouldn’t really care about the additions. Just two seasons ago, the Tigers defeated both Texas and Oklahoma on their way to the National Championship, so LSU would be happy with more recruiting access to neighboring Texas and the extra revenue the Big 12’s Big Two bring.
Missouri – Surprised to see the Tigers on this list? Missouri’s athletics department could really use the extra money. Unlike Texas A&M, Missouri left the Big 12 more out of necessity than out of any hostility to Texas. Nebraska, Colorado and Texas A&M had all left. Texas and OU flirted with the Pac-12. The SEC offered a lifeboat and Missouri jumped on it. 10 years later, if Texas and OU want to team up and increase revenue, I think the Tigers will say yes.
Vanderbilt – Needless to say, the Commodores don’t get one or two wins by getting over the hump on the football field. Two more powerhouses joining the SEC won’t change Vanderbilt’s fortunes all that much, and if the SEC’s annual check has a chance to get bigger, why not?
maroon – For Auburn, this is a win-lose situation, and the Tigers don’t need two more behemoths roaming the SEC. Auburn fans expect national championships or the coach hits the hot seat. It’s not the most realistic outlook, but that’s the way it is on the Plains and the financial benefit wouldn’t outweigh the added power of the schedule.
Texas A&M – We already know where the Aggies are. It took them 10 years to finally reap the full benefits of leaving Texas for the SEC. They are ready to be an elite team nationally and don’t need Texas and Oklahoma to steal their thunder on the Lone Star State recruiting path and give them more hurdles to win the SEC and possibly the national championship.
be Miss – The rebels like to win. The school has had its record adjusted by the NCAA for offenses in 10 different seasons, most recently in 2016. Want to bang their heads against the Texas-OU wall? Do they want the pool of recruiting targets in Texas to shrink? On the other hand, according to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, Ole Miss athletics functioned in 2018 and 2019. Greater control of the conference would be helpful.
Mississippi state – The Bulldogs is another program that is constantly fighting uphill in the rough SEC West and in no rush to add more bluebloods to the schedule. Everything has to go right for the state of Mississippi to win, but there is evidence that it can happen, as Dan Mullen had the Bulldogs ranked No. 1 in the nation for five glorious weeks in the 2014 season. Sure, the extra income could be nice, but MSU still hopes it can become an SEC champion, and it would be easier without Oklahoma and Texas around.
Tennessee – Another program that sees itself, rightly or wrongly, among the college football elite at the national level, even if it struggles to get out of the way. Visions of Peyton Manning and Phil Fulmer and orange confetti still dance in his head. Two more mountains to climb will not speed up the rebuilding process. Freshman AD Danny White isn’t afraid to be brash though, claiming a national championship for UCF in 2017 while in Orlando. Perhaps he will welcome OU and Texas with open arms.