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Brazos Valley lawmakers respond to steps taken to involve legislature with reports of UT looking to leave Big 12 for SEC

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 10:46 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Brazos Valley lawmakers are responding to steps taken by multiple members of the Texas Legislature to require legislative approval for collegiate teams to change athletic conferences.

There have been reports this week that the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma are looking to leave the Big 12 and join the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Lawmakers took to social media to express concern, especially regarding the economic impact to the Texas schools still in the Big 12.

District 67 Representative Jeff Leach took to Twitter Thursday, saying he planned to help put forth a bill to require legislative approval for public Texas universities to change collegiate conferences. Friday, he and several other lawmakers submitted HB 298.

District 22 Senator Brian Birdwell also posted on Twitter saying he submitted SB 76, a companion bill to HB 298.

Some Brazos Valley lawmakers, like District 5 Senator Charles Schwertner, also responded to reports of a potential change.

District 14 Representative John Raney says he does not believe this situation is something Texas lawmakers need to have any part in.

“I think we should stay out of it,” said Raney. “I understand Mr. Leach’s concern about his alma mater, Baylor. I don’t blame him for that. I just don’t think the legislature should take the lead in whatever athletic conference a school plays in.”

District 12 Representative Kyle Kacal sent KBTX a statement saying, “There has been widespread speculation regarding the departure of Oklahoma and Texas from the Big 12. Since the news breaking about the potential move, many conversations have taken place inside the capitol about how this might be addressed legislatively. While we await any official word from the SEC, I think it’s imperative to take a look at the overall impact that this might have to our state and our institutions of higher learning.”

Even though these bills have been filed, Raney says he does not believe they will make headway during this special session. Governor Greg Abbott would have to add it to the special session agenda.

If anything, Raney says it would take until the next full session which is set for 2023.

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