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Ole Miss, MSU ADs embracing change ahead of potential SEC realignment

While every SEC head coach met the media in Hoover this week, the storyline that came out of SEC Media Days instead centers around two teams from the Big 12 as news broke that Texas and Oklahoma have inquired about joining college football’s premier conference. 

Related: Kiffin seeks consistency entering year two at Ole Miss

Media deals could delay the process until 2025, but ESPN is now reporting that a move to the SEC for Texas and Oklahoma could be made official “in a matter of weeks.” 

If so, the two blue-chip programs would need a ‘yes’ vote from 11 of the SEC’s current 14 member institutions to eventually join. According to SI’s Ross Dellenger, Texas A&M is the only institution opposing the move at this time. Earlier this week, A&M AD Ross Bjork publicly stated that the Aggies hope to remain the lone SEC program in the Lone Star State. 

While undoubtedly limited in what they could say, Ole Miss Athletic Director Keith Carter and Mississippi State AD John Cohen spoke to SportsTalk Mississippi Thursday about the potential shake-up. 

Carter discussed the fact that, even before this news first broke in the Houston Chronicle, there have been ongoing conversations regarding the current model of the NCAA and noted that changes are coming. 

“Over the next 3-5 years, you’re going to see a lot of change, honestly. I don’t think it’s going to look like it looks today. What does that mean? Obviously, realignment is a part of that, I think. We want to make sure, at Ole Miss, that were in the middle of all of that and relevant. So, it’ll be very interesting to see how it all shakes out,” Carter said. 

Carter mentioned that the addition of Texas and Oklahoma hadn’t “really been discussed” among the conference’s AD’s before the story was reported but said that it’s all part of the process. 

“I think it all goes back to, we’re going to see some of this. This discussion is going to happen, there’s going to be some of this movement in some form or fashion in the near future. I wouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t the last thing that pops,” Carter said. 

Between the shifting of the NCAA’s role, the launch of the name, image and likeness era and the sudden arrival of realignment talks, Cohen expressed that the landscape of college athletics is ever-changing. 

Related: Leach Took The Stage At The 2021 SEC Media Days And Did Not Disappoint

“I’ve only done this for four and half years, but the earth is spinning on its axis a little quicker now than it was four and half years ago. And, the landscape is going to change over the next four to five years. and it’s going to move even faster. It’s an exciting time to be in intercollegiate athletics, but at the same time, it might be the most unpredictable era in the history of college athletics,” Cohen said. 

Should the Longhorns and Sooners bring the Red River Rivalry to the SEC, it would instantly create new questions regarding the alignment of the conference, the future of the Big 12 and other conferences across the country. 

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