AUSTIN. Texas — University of Texas President Jay Hartzell said Thursday he’ll attend the Southeastern Conference’s annual meeting later this month with a goal of building relationships, not immediately trying to flex Longhorns muscle in their new league.
Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big 12 after the 2023-24 season and join the SEC next summer.
Hartzell said he’ll be watching how the conference addresses its football scheduling dilemma – eight or nine conference games – and its potential impact on future media rights contracts. The SEC meets May 30 in Destin, Florida.
“It’s going to be weird. I’ll be there with no voting rights. We’re not officially in yet,” Hartzell said Thursday.
“My impression is scheduling is tough for them, probably will be the topic of the day, and then figuring out what is the latest in terms of media discussions and how those two interact,” Hartzell said. “I’ll be there mainly to start building relationships.”
Hartzell said he wasn’t ready to take a position on the scheduling issue, and said he won’t go to the meeting with a Texas agenda.
“I don’t want to come in here and guns blazing,” Hartzell said. “Texas on occasion has a reputation as, you know, being an alpha. I’m happy to come in and start just being part of the team … It’s a great league, and we’re excited about it and we want to fit in and be a good partner with the league with all the other presidents and chancellors. We’ve got a role to play, but also want to be a team player.”
The Texas Board of Regents this week approved allowing Hartzell to sign agreements moving the Longhorns from the Big 12 to the SEC in July 2024.
The vote was expected after the Big 12 announced in February it had reached an agreement with Texas and Oklahoma to leave a year earlier than planned, leaving behind the $50 million each school would have received over the next two seasons under the Big 12′s media contracts.
Texas regents voted Wednesday. Oklahoma’s Board of Regents has a meeting scheduled Friday where it is expected to take similar action.