Jul 19, 2021; Hoover, Alabama, USA; SEC commissioner Greg Sankey speaks to the media during SEC Media Days at Hyatt Regency Birmingham. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma, Texas apply for SEC membership

Oklahoma and Texas formally applied to join the Southeastern Conference in 2025.

The SEC released a statement Tuesday as the Big 12 Conference schools revealed separate meetings for their university governing bodies to discuss the next stops in conference alignment later this week.

“The University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas, two esteemed academic institutions with storied athletics programs, today submitted formal requests for invitations to become members of the Southeastern Conference in 2025,” the league said in a statement. “While the SEC has not proactively sought new members, we will pursue significant change when there is a clear consensus among our members that such actions will further enrich the experiences of our student-athletes, and lead to a greater academic and athletic achievement across our campuses. The Presidents and Chancellors of the SEC, in their capacity as the conference’s Chief Executive Officers, will consider these requests in the near future.

A formal vote of the SEC’s current 14 member institutions will be taken and three-fourths approval is required before the league can offer membership to Oklahoma and Texas.

Oklahoma and Texas said in a joint statement they have reached out to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and “look forward to the prospect of future discussions regarding the matter.”

–Field Level Media

Aug 24, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tate Martell (18) works out prior to the game at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Former OSU, Miami QB Tate Martell transferring to UNLV

Former Ohio State and Miami quarterback Tate Martell is transferring to UNLV for his final two years of eligibility.

Martell, 23, graduated from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, where he was rated as the No. 2 dual quarterback recruit in the class of 2017 by 247 Sports.

He redshirted his freshman year at Ohio State and was the backup in 2018 to Dwayne Haskins, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting that season. After Justin Fields transferred to Ohio State, Martell left for Miami.

But he lost the quarterback competition to Jarren Williams and never regained a hold on the starting position, even spending some time as a wide receiver.

Martell completed 23 of 28 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown and added two scores on the ground at Ohio State, while appearing in five games for the Hurricanes in 2019, completing one pass for 7 yards and rushing seven times for 7 yards.

UNLV finished the pandemic-shortened 2020 season with a 0-6 record.

–Field Level Media

Dec 29, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; General overall view of the 2017 Cotton Bowl logo on the back of the helmet of Southern California Trojans long snapper Jake Olson at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NCAA settles defamation lawsuit from former USC coach

The NCAA settled a defamation lawsuit filed by former USC assistant coach Todd McNair, the two sides announced Monday — 10 years after the lawsuit was originally filed.

The legal action was first filed on June 6, 2011, in response to the NCAA claiming McNair violated ethical conduct rules while the college governing body investigated former Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush over ties to two sports marketers during the 2005 season.

McNair, 55, was the running backs coach for the Trojans from 2004-10. He sued after alleging he could not find football coaching work after the scandal. He is currently the running backs coach for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he has worked since the 2019 season.

The settlement was reached through mediation, and no further details were released.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2020; Columbia, Missouri, USA; A general view of a Missouri Tigers logo on the retaining wall before the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri athletics director Jim Sterk steps down

The University of Missouri and Jim Sterk “mutually agreed” that the athletics director will resign from his post.

Per the Monday announcement, Sterk, who was two weeks from the fifth anniversary of taking the job, will remain in his role until a replacement can be hired.

“We are grateful for the dedicated leadership Jim has provided over the last five years to position Mizzou for even greater success,” Tigers president Mun Choi said in a statement. “We recognize his many contributions and appreciate his continued role as we search for the next leader of Mizzou Athletics.

“We now begin a national search for a visionary athletics director who will develop a strategic plan for Mizzou to achieve exceptional success in the SEC and to navigate a bold path in the rapidly evolving world of collegiate athletics.”

The surprising move comes at a time of potential upheaval around college sports, especially with the Southeastern Conference flirting with adding a pair of Big 12 powers, Oklahoma and Texas, to its ranks.

Sterk was the 20th athletics director in school history and hired the current head coaches for football (Eli Drinkwitz) and men’s basketball (Cuonzo Martin) at the university. Sterk previously had sports administration experience at San Diego State, Washington State and Portland.

“I am grateful for the hard work of our amazing staff, coaches and student-athletes, as well as the generous support of our alumni and friends during my tenure as athletics director,” Sterk said. “I believe that Mizzou Athletics is well positioned for future success, and I wish our coaches and student-athletes well in their continued quest for academic and athletic excellence.”

According to the university, the Tigers had 18 teams make the postseason in the 2020-21 athletic season, a school record.

–Field Level Media

Jul 15, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA;  Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian speaks to the media during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Texas, Oklahoma not renewing Big 12 media rights

Texas and Oklahoma took their first step toward leaving the Big 12 on Monday by notifying the conference that they will not be renewing their grants of media rights after they expire in 2025.

“Providing notice to the Big 12 at this point is important in advance of the expiration of the conference’s current media rights agreement,” the schools said in a joint statement. “The universities intend to honor their existing grant of rights agreements. However, both universities will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving collegiate athletics landscape as they consider how best to position their athletics programs for the future.”

Multiple media outlets previously reported the schools’ move to the Southeastern Conference is imminent. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has refused comment on reports that the Longhorns and Sooners are heading to the conference.

With the schools’ announcement on Monday, the SEC can take steps to vote on adding the two universities.

To leave the league, each university would owe at least $76 million, ESPN reported.

Texas and Oklahoma were founding members of the Big 12, and their departures will set off a ripple effect throughout the conference. Reports Friday indicated Kansas is seeking to join the Big Ten.

The Big 12’s charter members were Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor.

Membership dropped to eight with the departures of Nebraska (Big Ten), Colorado (Pac-12) and Missouri and Texas A&M (SEC).

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions former player Barry Sanders before the game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State to add Barry Sanders to Ring of Honor

Oklahoma State will honor Barry Sanders with a spot in its Ring of Honor and a statue outside Boone Pickens Stadium.

He will take his place in the Ring of Honor on Nov. 13, when the Cowboys host TCU.

Sanders, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a stellar career with the Detroit Lions, was a starter for just one season at Oklahoma State.

In 1988, he ran for 2,850 yards — an average of 237.5 per game — and scored 44 touchdowns. He had four games with at least 300 yards rushing, and in one incredible three-game span, ran for a combined 937 yards and 13 touchdowns against Kansas, Iowa State and Texas Tech.

He went on to win the Heisman Trophy and earn unanimous All-America honors after the 1988 season, which was his third at Oklahoma State. He spent his first two seasons in Stillwater as the backup to another future Hall of Fame member, Thurman Thomas.

Sanders, 53, becomes just the second member of the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor, following Thomas.

Sanders skipped his senior season and was selected No. 3 overall by the Detroit Lions in the 1989 NFL Draft. In 10 seasons, he ran for 15,269 yards, which stands fourth all-time behind Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Frank Gore.

With the Lions, he scored 109 touchdowns — 99 rushing, 10 receiving — and was a 10-time Pro Bowl section and six-time First-Team All-Pro. Sanders was named MVP in 1997 when he led the NFL with 2,053 rushing yards and 2,358 yards from scrimmage.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners fans cheer during the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks  at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Texas, Oklahoma to announce Big 12 exit soon

The announcement of a move by Oklahoma and Texas from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference — just a rumor a few days ago — is imminent, multiple outlets reported Friday.

The two traditional conference powers will inform the Big 12 on Monday that they won’t renew their grant of media rights deal that expires in 2025, Horns247 reported. Once that happens, the SEC can take steps to vote on adding the two universities, and that process “could move quickly,” per the report.

To leave the league, the schools each would owe at least $76 million, ESPN reported.

Texas and Oklahoma were founding members of the Big 12, and their departures will set off a ripple effect throughout the conference. Reports Friday indicated Kansas is seeking to join the Big Ten.

Officials from Big 12 schools, not including Texas and Oklahoma, held a conference call Thursday night to talk about the league’s future. An ESPN report indicated the league could reach out to other Power Five programs to assess their interest in joining, or see if Group of Five schools such as Houston, Cincinnati or UCF might want a spot in the Big 12.

The Big 12’s charter members were Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor.

Membership dropped to eight with the departures of Nebraska (Big Ten), Colorado (Pac-12) and Missouri and Texas A&M (SEC).

–Field Level Media

The University of Kansas new football coach Lance Leipold, left, shakes hands with athletic director Travis Goff, right, during a news conference Monday at the indoor football facility.

Reports: Kansas plots Big Ten move with OU, Texas exiting Big 12

Kansas could be on the move in an immediate response to the imminent exit of Oklahoma and Texas from the Big 12 conference.

According to multiple reports, Kansas will hold a secondary call with Big Ten officials that could lead to the Jayhawks becoming the 15th team in the conference and the further weakening of the Big 12.

Iowa State is also rumored to be considering leaving the Big 12 for the Big Ten.

Oklahoma and Texas are close to finalizing a move to the Southeastern Conference that would cost the universities at least $76 million apiece, paid to the Big 12 as an exit fee. Texas A&M and Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2011.

The Big 12 lost Nebraska to the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pac-12 in 2011.

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said Thursday at conference media days that the league would consider how and when to get involved in potential realignment in response to the Sooners and Longhorns heading for the SEC.

Kansas has been a dominant force in college basketball and recently underwent changes at athletic director and named a new football coach, Lance Leipold, to replace Les Miles.

–Field Level Media

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren walks across the endzone prior to the Big Ten Championship football game between Ohio State and Northwestern at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020.

Big Ten Championship Ohio State Northwestern

Big Ten plans on rotating championship game location

The Big Ten is expecting to rotate the location of its football championship game when its current contract with Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium expires after this season, commissioner Kevin Warren told NJ Advance Media at Big Ten Media Days on Thursday.

The conference will do the same thing for its men’s basketball tournament.

“We’re going to sit down and figure out the best way to rotate it, probably take out a request for proposal for basketball and football,” Warren told NJ Advance Media. “I’m open to any location our fans will travel to and enjoy in our footprint, anywhere from Nebraska to New Jersey.”

The Big Ten Championship Game was first held in 2011 and has been held exclusively at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Big Ten men’s basketball tournament has been held in Indianapolis and Chicago for every year since starting in 1998 except for 2016 and 2017. In 2017, the tournament was held at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. and at NYC’s Madison Square Garden in 2017.

–Field Level Media

Oct 19, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; A general view of the Pac-12 conference logo on the field prior to the game between the Utah Utes and the Arizona State Sun Devils at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 mulls forfeits for teams with COVID outbreaks

The Pac-12 Conference is leaning toward a policy that would force teams to forfeit a game if they were unable to play due to an outbreak of COVID-19, new commissioner George Kliavkoff said Thursday.

Kliavkoff made the comments to ESPN and cited a decision by the NFL earlier in the day. The SEC is also considering forfeits as a way to encourage athletes to get vaccinated.

“I’m leaning towards going back to the pre-COVID rules that had a team that was not able to field enough players to forfeit the game,” Kliavkoff told ESPN. “We read with interest the notes from Commissioner (Roger) Goodell to the NFL teams that they’re going to treat it as a forfeit and financially penalize the team that is unable to play. I don’t know if we end up there or not, but that’s where we’re leaning.”

In 2020, the conference initially canceled the football season before reversing course in October and starting a modified conference-only season in early November.

–Field Level Media