AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas System Board of Regents announced it has voted unanimously to approve University of Texas at Austin joining the Southeastern Conference.
"Today’s action by the Board of Regents is in the best interests of UT student-athletes, the UT Austin athletics program overall and the university," UT Chancellor James B. Milliken said in a statement released by the university. "This move ensures a strong future for an outstanding athletics program, providing the opportunity for our student athletes to compete at the highest levels.”
Chairman Kevin Eltife remarked before he took the vote accept the SEC invitation to join, "We are honored to receive the invitation. I am grateful to the SEC and to Commissioner (Greg) Sankey for considering our request for membership and to the League of Presidents and Chancellors for their unanimous vote and support. I am particularly grateful and want to express my appreciation to the chairman of the Texas A&M Board of Regents, Tim Leach, and the entire Board of Regents at Texas A&M for their support.
"Collegiate athletics is changing rapidly whether any of us wants it to or not," Texas president Jay Hartzell said. "This is evidenced by a critical Supreme Court decision and landmark legislation from several states across the country. Issues such as name, image and likeness; declining cable television subscriptions; college football playoff expansion; the transfer portal; and the impact of a global pandemic on sports, just to name a few, have proved that a transformation in collegiate athletics is happening around us.
"While our university has enjoyed over 25 years in the Big 12 Conference, we recognize that we must be willing to make changes with our eyes on the future. In a world of uncertainty and change, it is incumbent upon us as leaders to protect and enhance our athletic program and university. In order to do so, we looked at conferences across the country and concluded that the SEC was the best fit for our future. The reasons are many: the stability and strength of the league and its leadership, the level of visibility for our student athletes, some of the toughest athletic competition, and exciting stadiums that are similar in capacity and attendance to ours. It should also be noted that this move allows us to protect and rekindle some key rivalries, including the chance to regularly compete with the University of Oklahoma, University of Arkansas and Texas A&M University."
"Today is an exciting day," vice president and athletic director Chris Del Conte said. "There’s a lot of opportunity on the horizon, and we feel great about our future. So, as we head into Big 12 action this fall, we’ll be competing as hard as ever, striving to be champions on and off the field, and representing our league with the pride and passion that epitomizes our Texas Longhorns. We have a rich tradition and history, and we will continue to compete proudly as members of the Big 12 as we prepare for our future in the SEC in 2025."
Left to right: UT Chancellor James B. Milliken, Chairman Kevin Eltife, President Jay Hartzell, Vice President and Director of Athletics Chris Del Conte (images courtesy of the University of Texas)