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OU president’s comments cast further doubt on Big 12’s future

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Earlier Friday, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel fired a shot across the bow of both Texas and the Big 12, saying that “[w]ithout question there’s some issues that other leagues don’t have… [and] we all know where it starts.”

A short time later, another, more influential conference official drove a tanker truck full of fuel onto the scene and started hosing down the fire currently roaring around the Big 12.

Speaking at the groundbreaking for a new student housing center, Oklahoma president David Boren said his university’s conference affiliation would likely be determined at some point between Monday and sometime around the middle of September.  What he left open, and what further illustrates the uncertainty swirling around the Big 12, is exactly which conference the Sooners will be in when his personal “deadline” comes and goes.

“My experience is that, in these kinds of things, it might be a matter of 72 hours, it might be a matter of two weeks,”  Boren said by way of Travis Haney of the Daily Oklahoman. “I don’t really think this is something that’s going to linger on beyond two or three weeks. …

It’s too early yet to know exactly what the outcome will be. Our main responsibility will be protecting the interest of the University of Oklahoma, do what’s in the best long-term interest of the university and our athletics department and the fans. …

“At this point in time, I’ll be very honest with you in saying I do not know with certainty, or perhaps even can’t hazard a totally intelligent guess as to what our final decision will be. But we are carefully looking over all the options.”

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman reported earlier this week that, presumably based on conversations with his sources, he’s fully expecting OU to seek an invitation to the Pac-12 “within days, if not hours.”  While Boren did not specifically confirm Bohls’ report, the president did confirm that his university has drawn “interest from other conferences and other universities.”  It’s interesting that Boren chose the plural of the word conference; thus far, OU has only been mentioned in connection to the Pac-12.

Boren added he’s disappointed that Nebraska, Colorado and Texas A&M have left or are on the verge of leaving the Big 12 in the past 15 months, and “disappointed… that we face the challenge that we do today.”

The events of the past few weeks, and the last couple of days in particular, leads one to believe there are just two certainties when it comes to the Big 12 in general and OU specifically.  One, OU, even without an definitive declaration from Boren, is looking at/sending out feelers to other conferences, most certainly the Pac-12 and quite possibly even the Big Ten if some of the rumors we’re hearing have any validity to them.  Secondly, the Big 12 can survive the loss of Colorado easily, or even the difficult losses of Nebraska and Texas A&M.  What the Big 12 can’t survive, and as Ben hinted at earlier today, is losing either Texas or Oklahoma — or both if OU’s departure would lead to either independence or UT following their Red River rivals west.

Either way, and based on Boren’s comments this evening, we should know at some point this month whether the Big 12 will remain a viable conference with OU as a member, or if the league will implode from within less than two decades after it was formed.

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28 Responses to “OU president’s comments cast further doubt on Big 12’s future”
  1. Deb says: Sep 2, 2011 7:33 PM

    JT, what kind of revenue division does the Pac-12 have?

  2. John Taylor says: Sep 2, 2011 7:40 PM

    The revenues are evenly split among all 12 schools, just like in the rock-strong SEC and Big Ten conferences. If the total revenue had fallen below a certain level — I think it was around $170 or $180 million — USC and UCLA would’ve each received $2 million each than the other 10 schools; obviously, with the new TV deal, that stipulation is no longer in play.

  3. phelbin says: Sep 2, 2011 7:49 PM

    Here’s an interesting article about the TV money:

    All 12 schools make roughly $21 million per year with the FOX/ESPN deal. Then they’re projecting $12 million per school or more per year from the regional networks. Incredible!!

    I wonder if adding UT and OU would allow Larry Scott to go back to FOX/ESPN and renegotiate. This right here is why the Pac-16 will be a reality very soon!

  4. whodoes says: Sep 2, 2011 7:59 PM

    Nobody makes a move without calling the Big 10 first to see what that conference is planning. They are a better fit geographically/culturally with the entire Big 12 and with most of the Big East, they are rich, and they also provide more academic cachet than the SEC. That’s certainly the first call Oklahoma should make as they figure out what to do. As should schools such as Pittsburgh, Syracuse, et al.

  5. bender4700 says: Sep 2, 2011 8:23 PM

    B16 wants you OU!!!

    Bring OSU. Missouri too. And bring Kansas. Then it will be a good old party.

    OU, Missouri in Legends with Nebraska and Michigan
    Ok State, KS in Leaders with Ohio State and Penn State

  6. WingT says: Sep 2, 2011 8:28 PM

    Look on the bright side Longhorns, the more teams that leave your conference, the more dollars you get to keep when you split the revenues. And if you end up in a conference of only one team, then you have the Longhorn Network to fall back on.

    Let me know how that works out for you.

  7. aggiegirl00 says: Sep 2, 2011 8:38 PM

    Good for OU! I honestly was shocked at how quiet they have been the past few weeks and can not wait to see how UT is going to salvage this mess of their creation.

    Texas def was going in the direction of independant but don’t think they foresaw it potentially happening this soon. Pac 12 ain’t to happy with Deloss since they snaked out on him last year and the LHN would be DOA as Pac 12 don’t do networks.

    Wow, that LHN is going to have 1st rate programming. Baylor, SMU, K-State, ballsy.

  8. bender4700 says: Sep 2, 2011 8:39 PM

    Has anyone stopped to think that maybe Slive, Larry Scott, Jim Delaney, along with the ACC Comiss (forget his name) might be working together?

    Seems like all the names and rumors have been sticking to one common theme.

    Each conference gaining a stronger member from the Big XII, Big East, and the ACC losing a good program but not their top programs. No one has really mentioned Miami moving (the scandal isn’t going to kill them, not like SMU). FSU has been mentioned but the ACC has enough teams that are coming up to fill in. (South Florida, Cincy, Louisville, etc).

    The ACC knows, the SEC and Big Ten are at the top, and the Pac-12 made significant strides to be up there with them.

    I would actually be shocked if these 4 guys haven’t been discussing these moves for years.

  9. WingT says: Sep 2, 2011 8:45 PM

    The ACC and Big East will somewhat merge after the departures of key ACC schools and maybe a Big east school or two.

    Interesting times

  10. wordonthequad says: Sep 2, 2011 9:03 PM


  11. bender4700 says: Sep 2, 2011 9:16 PM

    I would imagine the ACC would pretty much just absorb the Big East, but the Big East has a lot of MAC and other small schools they could bring in. Plus TCU is still there for them.

  12. Fan On Fire_Maurice Barksdale says: Sep 2, 2011 9:37 PM

    How can a conference expect to survive when it blantantly shows favoritism to one school over all the others? The only way they saved the Big 12 last season was to bend over backwards for the Longhorns, but all that did was delay the inevitable.

  13. Deb says: Sep 2, 2011 9:52 PM

    Thanks, JT.

    @whodoes …

    Really? I don’t believe the Aggies called the Big 10. Did Colorado call the Big 10? Has Oklahoma called? I don’t think everyone is as impressed with their cachet as you are. And you should keep tracking the academic rankings. Vanderbilt goes without saying, but Florida’s are higher than several Big 10 institutions and Georgia’s are in the ballpark. The other SEC schools are improving as well. Soon you jackasses will actually have to discuss football on the football blogs instead of bragging about the academic cachet :roll: of universities as though that translates to your personal intellect. It doesn’t.

  14. whodoes says: Sep 2, 2011 10:43 PM

    Deb, how many SEC schools are AAU members? Believe it or not, that matters to the Big 10 (obviously a little less to the SEC). Spare me the defense of SEC academics. There’s a reason why Texas has sent clear signals that they would not be interested in the SEC. The Aggies may or may not have called the Big 10, we don’t know. But we do know that Jim Delaney made clear he would not make the next move – it would be up to another conference to provoke the super-conference move, and then the Big 10 would consider additional moves. So now the move has been made and now it is time for the Big 10 to get involved. Oklahoma would be STUPID not to call the Big 10 and gauge their interest before making their move. Period.

    By the way, I don’t know which “jackasses” you are referring to (there are so many), but I’m not of the Big 10. I am, however, realistic. You can choose to convince yourself that the SEC is making strides on academically superior FBS conferences such as the ACC, Big 10, and Pac-10, or that the SEC schools are actually prioritizing academics above football (the administration at Auburn just did a collective spit take). Maybe you’ve even convinced yourself that Florida actually goes after the “top 1% of the top 1%.” You can choose to believe that Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, etc, etc are better fits or would be more excited with the Pac-10 or Big-12 than they are with the Big 10. Everyone is entitled to their delusions.

  15. Deb says: Sep 2, 2011 11:06 PM

    @whodoes …

    I don’t choose to believe anything; I simply checked the academic rankings of Big 10 universities and SEC universities. And the reality is that Vanderbilt ranks above every Big 10 school except Northwestern. Florida ranks even with Penn State and ahead of Ohio State and most other Big 10 schools. Georgia ranks just below OSU and ahead of several other Big 10 schools. And for the record, I’m a Mizzou grad.

    The jackasses to whom I’m referring are the (usually) Big 10 fans who routinely come onto these blogs and comfort themselves following football losses by making bigoted rants about the stupidity of Southerners. I guess engaging in degrading stereotypes makes them feel intellectually superior. I’ve always thought bigotry and reliance on stereotyping were signs of limited intelligence.

    These conferences were set up to accommodate sporting events, and the chief consideration is financial. Geography is also a major consideration. Academic rankings are a lesser concern.

    No, I don’t believe Texas A&M contacted the Big 10 before trying to secure a spot in the SEC. Do you have evidence that Oklahoma has tried to secure an invitation to the Big 10 or is that just supposition on your part?

    And the folks at Texas can send all the signals they like. The SEC is not interested in the Longhorns, and no invitation from the SEC would be forthcoming. It’s easy to say you wouldn’t go to the party when you know you wouldn’t be invited.

  16. paulbrownsrevenge says: Sep 2, 2011 11:27 PM


    West Virginia’s academic rating is why they won’t get into the big10, ever. Pitt and Syracuse are way ahead of them. Pitt’s issue is their stadium, or lack of one. I can see OU either heading to the b10 or pac12 because they could dominate versus the SEC where they won’t always be top dog.

  17. paulbrownsrevenge says: Sep 2, 2011 11:32 PM

    Oklahoma’s natural rival has always been Nebraska, I think the media inflates OU-Texas a little much, most diehard Sooner fans will say they hate Nebraska more than Texas. Not sure that will influence OU though.

  18. TxGrown says: Sep 3, 2011 12:01 AM

    @ Deb..
    And the folks at Texas can send all the signals they like. The SEC is not interested in the Longhorns, and no invitation from the SEC would be forthcoming. It’s easy to say you wouldn’t go to the party when you know you wouldn’t be invited.————————————————————————————-
    Where on earth did you ever get the idea that texas
    was sending signals for an invitation the sec? They only thing they are sending is A & M.

  19. Deb says: Sep 3, 2011 12:13 AM

    @TxGrown …

    I’ve never thought Texas was sending signals about wanting to go anywhere. whodoes was slamming the SEC and saying Texas sent signals they’d never go to the SEC. So I told him they weren’t wanted anyway :)

  20. Deb says: Sep 3, 2011 12:16 AM

    @TxGrown …

    whodoes is one of those guys doing the old song about how the whole world bows to the intellectual superiority of the Big 10 (the conference that can’t count) and their Leaders and Legends. Uh-huh.

  21. gorilladunk says: Sep 3, 2011 12:24 AM

    @paulbrownsrevenge…I can assure you that at the end of the day, 99% of Sooners fans would much rather continue the rivalry with UT than Nebraska. The Nebraska rivalry was built on respect and competition while the rivalry with Texas is built on pure dislike. Wouldn’t bother me to be reunited with the Huskers, but if my choice is between Nebraska and Texas, nothing beats the second Saturday in October at the Cotton Bowl.

  22. phelbin says: Sep 3, 2011 1:00 AM

    @Deb, I’m curious to know what rankings you’re using. Cause I come up with a very different impression of the SEC than you do.

    Using the US News rankings to compare the 6 BCS conferences, I ordered them by rank. The following is a breakdown of conferences by schools ranked in the top-50:

    ACC – 7
    Pac-12 – 5
    Big Ten – 5
    SEC – 2
    Big East – 2
    Big 12 – 1

    If we expand the list to schools ranked in the top-100:

    ACC – 11
    Big Ten – 11
    Big East – 7
    Pac-12 – 6
    Big 12 – 6
    SEC – 5

    BTW, the Big East was really helped out by non-football members schools.

  23. TxGrown says: Sep 3, 2011 1:34 AM

    @Deb…I stand corrected.

  24. txnative61 says: Sep 3, 2011 2:53 AM

    The unmentioned aspect is recruiting. OU will not jeopardize their dominance in North East Texas, including Dallas/FW. Recruiting in Texas is indispensable to many quality teams, and they know it.

  25. floridacock says: Sep 3, 2011 9:23 AM

    Texas needs to go independant and play BYU 8 times a year.

  26. mobob says: Sep 3, 2011 10:14 AM

    To save what is left of the Big (diminishing) 12, there should be a new alliance made either between the Big East or (for instance) the Big Ten, with a North and South or East and west division. Else the Big 12 becomes non existent. Not much of a draw left to get the good players if A&M and OK bolt.

  27. Deb says: Sep 3, 2011 12:04 PM

    @phelbin …

    I used the US News rankings but compared only individual school rankings for the universities in the Big 10 and SEC. At the time, I was engaged in an argument specifically about Vanderbilt and Northwestern as they related to the rest of the Big 10. So I listed all the schools in the two conferences and ordered them according to rank, then kept a copy. I don’t have data on the other conferences nor time to go back and do that research right now.

    As I told a friend last night, I’m well aware that many of the SEC schools lag … and I’m also aware of the historic and socioeconomic reasons. They are improving and will continue to improve. But the academic ranking of a university says nothing about the intellectual ability of individuals from a region of the nation. Regional bigotries and stereotypes are as offensive as racial bigotries and stereotypes. And if my team couldn’t win a ballgame on the field, I’d be ashamed to try and comfort myself by ridiculing my opponent’s intellect. It’s petty and irrelevant.

  28. dkhhuey says: Sep 6, 2011 10:35 AM

    Personally – I think Okla and Okla State would be a much better fit in the Big 10.

    As for all of the other ridiculous arguments?!?!? WTF people – can you ever have an honest conversation on this board without it deteriorating into what conference has the biggest johnson? I feel like I’m dealing with 4th graders half the time. Grow up people!

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