We interrupt your first full day of the 2011 season for, of course, an update on the looming expansion apocalypse.
On the eve of the start of a new football year Friday, Oklahoma president David Boren made it perfectly clear that his university was accepting overtures from conferences — plural — not named the Big 12 and that the Sooners’ future in their current league is far from guaranteed. Additionally, a report emerged following Boren’s very pointed remarks that Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe called for a conference call yesterday that didn’t include either the OU president or his counterpart at Texas, ostensibly to get the remaining conferences members to apply pressure to UT in an effort to get them to stay (yeah, good luck leaning on that financial behemoth).
Today, yet another report has emerged pointing to Beebe’s conference crumbling all around him.
According to the Daily Oklahoman, OU’s sole focus has become the Pac-12 and, presumably, a move to that conference. At face value, that report is also stating OU has all but given up on their attempts to make the Big 12 a viable and stable conference again.
It’s believed that OU and their in-state rivals Oklahoma State will be a package deal, with OSU president Burns Hargis saying in a statement today that his school is “in close communications with our colleagues at the University of Oklahoma and expect a decision soon that will be in the best interest of our institutions and the state of Oklahoma.” An OSU source also told the Oklahoman that “I think probably the way it’s going to go,” referring to both Okla. schools going to the Pac-12.
Before OSU’s game Saturday, mega-booster T. Boone Pickens told reporters that “if you can’t fix the Big 12, you might as well go west.”
It’s also believed that the Pac-12 is looking to become the Pac-16 in one fell swoop, with that conference eyeing a package that includes the two Oklahoma schools as well as Texas and Texas Tech. As part of that process, the Oklahoman reports that Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is hoping to meet with UT president William Powers this weekend to discuss a potential move.
Initially thought to be a deal-breaker, it appears the Longhorn Network will not be an impediment to UT moving to the Pac-12 if they so desire.
“Given what the Pac-12 has announced, there’s a place for the Pac-12 and Texas to keep their network,” a source told the paper, obviously referring to the LHN becoming one of the Pac-12’s regional networks.
As was the case with Texas A&M-to-the-SEC speculation, the rumors of the two Oklahoma and two Texas schools moving their conference affiliations west are taking on an air of inevitability with each passing day. So, does Beebe have any other magic left up his sleeve or did he use it all up last June? Based on the tea leaves, not a chance in hell.