If Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is going to regain a year of eligibility in 2017, he will have to do so outside the Big 12. The Big 12 arrived at a stalemate on a proposed rule regarding non-recruited walk-ons and transferring without penalty. The final vote of 5-5 means the proposed rule will not be passed, as it needed a majority in favor to approve the rule.
The rule was proposed by Oklahoma, which has led many to refer to the proposal as the Baker Mayfield Rule, which is fitting. Mayfield is a potential Heisman Trophy candidate heading into the 2016 season and it would make sense Oklahoma would want to maximize their time with the hot hand leading the offense if they could help make it possible. Of course, Oklahoma does have Kyler Murray sitting in waiting as well for 2017.
Mayfield was a walk-on at Texas Tech in 2013 and he soon grabbed the starting job w the Red Raiders. Things turned sour in Lubbock and eventually led to Mayfield transferring to Oklahoma within the Big 12. Mayfield walked on at Oklahoma as well. During the process, Mayfield sat out one season. Because he was unable to receive any extra eligibility during his transfer process through a lengthy appeals process with the Big 12 and the NCAA, Mayfield will be a senior in 2016 with no more eligibility with the Sooners. He could, however, get back an extra year if he were to transfer to another school outside of the Big 12 in 2017.
Essentially, what the Big 12 is doing is limiting potential options for walk-on players. Not every walk-on will turn out to be Mayfield, and odds are schools will have scholarships open up at some point that can be used to reward those walk-ons, but the Big 12 is now eliminating nine potential landing places for a walk-on looking to play one more season of college football. That’s a shame, because the vote result was more about protecting the stability of a roster for a Big 12 program rather than doing what may be arguably better for the individual player.
Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione said he and Oklahoma are prepared to continue pushing for this proposal in the future.