Oklahoma Sooners

A player for Oklahoma hoists up his helmet during the 2nd-half kickoff between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri on October 28, 2006.  Oklahoma won 26-10. (Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images)
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Pair of Sooners finish off six-game suspensions, reinstated

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A month ago, Bob Stoops revealed that redshirt freshman defensive tackle Du’Vonta Lampkin and redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Dwayne Orso-Bacchus are in the midst of serving six-game suspensions.  According to the Oklahoma head coach, the twin suspensions stemmed from last season’s Orange Bowl playoff game; what specific incident in or around the CFP semifinal that triggered the punitive measures was and is decidedly unclear.

With the Sooners preparing for Game 7 this Saturday, the school confirmed that both players have been reinstated and will be available to play against Texas Tech.  The suspensions cost the linemen playing time against Houston, Louisiana-Monroe, Ohio State, TCU, Texas and Kansas State.

The return of Lampkin in particular will be a welcome one as defensive linemen Matt Dimon and Charles Walker will be missing their fourth and third straight game, respectively, because of injury.

Orso-Bacchus played in six games in 2015 as a defensive lineman, ultimately moving to the other side the line late last year.  He was a three-star 2014 signee.

Lampkin, meanwhile, was a signee as part of rival Texas’ 2015 recruiting class, but couldn’t enroll at UT because of a foreign language requirement.  Charlie Strong, though, wouldn’t give Lampkin a release from his scholarship — the UT head coach “[didn’t] want to set [the] precedent that recruits can fail [a] course and go elsewhere” — leading Lampkin to appeal the decision.

In August of last year, Lampkin announced that he would be enrolling at OU.  The three-star recruit took a redshirt as a true freshman.

Texas governor: ‘Big 12 owes a lot of people an apology’

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 04:  Texas Governor Greg Abbott is seen on the field prior to the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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As governor of the state of Texas, Greg Abbott had a very vested interest in the Big 12’s next move when it came to its membership numbers moving forward.  And, like a lot of people, Abbott was left with a bitter taste in his mouth.

Houston was one of a handful of teams under consideration by the Big 12 as the conference flirted with expansion for the past several months.  Abbott has long been a proponent of UH to the Big 12, tweeting back in July that “expansion is a non-starter unless it includes University of Houston.”

Three months later, expansion, period, was a non-starter as the conference opted to stick with its current 10 members, going so far as to not even voting on whether or not to add specific schools even after those universities very publicly made pitches for inclusion.

How the process played out was the (rightly) subject of derision and criticism by those in the media.  It was an embarrassment and black eye for an already battered league, something that Abbott, a University of Texas graduate, was quick to jump on.

Here’s to guessing that, once the Big 12’s grant of rights is up in less than a decade, the conference will cease to exist and those like Abbott may fee a sense of relief those they supported were snubbed in this go ’round.

Houston, BYU, UConn and others release statements on Big 12 non-expansion

PROVO, UT - OCTOBER 14: General view of LaVell Edwards Stadium and the field logo before the game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Brigham Young Cougars on October 14, 2016 in Provo Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The Big 12 officially announced on Monday evening that the league would not be expanding and will not add any universities to the conference.

The news puts an end to a rather lengthy process that involved nearly every school outside of the Power Five in some form or fashion. As the result of the decision, many of those programs rumored to be on the Big 12’s short list released statements on the matter.

Here’s BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe:

“The announcement by the Big 12 Conference against expansion is not unexpected and is indicative of the volatile world of college athletics administration,” UConn president Susan Herbst said in a statement, while also releasing the promotional materials the school used in their pitch to the Big 12. “While I am sure many in our community are nervous about what this means for our future, I am confident that we have put our best foot forward in considerable effort to demonstrate how we currently operate our university and athletics programs at a ‘Power 5’ level and will continue to do so.”

“The Big 12’s decision in no way changes the mission of the University of Houston that began long before there was talk of conference expansion. UH is a diverse Tier One research institution that is on the move,” Cougars president Renu Khator said in a statement. “We remain committed to strengthening our nationally competitive programs in academics and athletics that allow  our student-athletes to compete on a national stage. We are confident that in this competitive athletics landscape, an established program with a history of winning championships and a demonstrated commitment to talent and facilities in the nation’s fourth largest city will find its rightful place. Our destiny belongs to us.”

Even South Florida released a statement on Monday after the Big 12 Board of Directors meeting.

“We are on a path to greatness at USF, reminding everyone in the Bulls Family why we are proud of who we are, how far we have come and what lies ahead,” athletic director Mark Harlan said. “Our student-athletes, coaches, staff, donors, alumni, fans and community members have propelled our program to profound success in recent years in the American Athletic Conference and I am confident that they will continue to do so in the future.”

The news that the Big 12 would not expand is no doubt disappointing for many fans from everywhere from Provo to Storrs to Houston to Tampa.

While administrators had a much more realistic idea of the process and what the eventual outcome was going to be, one thing everybody can agree on is to be thankful that this dog and pony show of Big 12 expansion is finally over.

It’s official: Big 12 unanimously decides not to expand

FILE - In this July 18, 2016, file photo, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby addresses attendees during Big 12 media day in Dallas. The Big 12 board of directors meets Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Dallas and the topic of expansion will be addressed.  Not necessarily decided, but definitely addressed. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
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It’s official.

In a “unanimous” decision, the Big 12 Board of Directors announced on Monday that the conference would not be expanding and adding any new schools to the league.

“We decided after a very thorough discussion to remain at 10 members,” Oklahoma president and board chair David Boren said. “We came to the decision that this is not the right time for expansion.”

Among the other highlights from the league’s press conference in Dallas:

  • There was no discussion of any individual schools getting into the conference
  • There was no vote on any schools or any polls of support for any university
  • The process to expand or not is no longer an agenda item being considered by the Big 12. Both Boren and Bowlsby said “never say never” however.
  • There will be no Big 12 Network at the current moment as the result of “market place forces” but it is not being ruled out completely in the future
  • Extending the conference’s grant of rights did not come up in the board’s discussions
  • The process of holding a conference title game moved forward and further details will be handled by the 10 athletic directors
  • There was no talk about the ESPN/Fox television contracts being renegotiated at this time

“I made one recommendation. We should bring this process to closure,” commissioner Bob Bowlsby added. “We shouldn’t kick the can down the road.”

The news no doubt comes as a blow to schools like Houston, BYU and Cincinnati among others who were hoping the Big 12 would expand by two or four schools and they would be able to join the Power Five as a result.

Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine out 2-3 weeks

NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 15:  Running back Samaje Perine #32 of the Oklahoma Sooners reaches for a touchdown as he is chased by defensive back Dante Barnett #22 and defensive back Kendall Adams #21 of the Kansas State Wildcats October 15, 2016 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma.  Oklahoma defeated Kansas State 38-17. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine is a key member of the Sooners offense, but a pulled muscle will keep him out of action for the next two weeks. Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops says Perine may even be out for a third week.

Perine, a junior, is fifth in the Big 12 in rushing with 475 yards and tied for third in the conference with six rushing touchdowns through six games this season. Along with Joe Mixon and quarterback Baker Mayfield, Perine was a part of one of the strongest backfields in the nation. The loss of Perine hurts Oklahoma’s offense, but a healthy Mayfield and Mixon should manage to keep the Sooners offense moving without skipping a beat.

Oklahoma’s next two games will be on the road against Texas Tech and at home against Kansas. Oklahoma should be a decided favorite in each. Should Perine have to miss a third game, that means he would miss a road game at Iowa State. If Perine needs to miss three games, it really could not have come at a better time for the Sooners. If Perine is out three weeks, he would then be back in time for a crucial final stretch with games against Baylor, at West Virginia and home against Oklahoma State to close out the regular season.