That sound you just heard? The latest expansion domino tumbling thunderously to the ground.
At separate Board of Regents meetings conducted Monday afternoon, and as expected, Oklahoma president David Boren (pictured) and Texas president William Powers received authorization from their regents to take action regarding the respective school’s conference affiliation.
Both of the votes were unanimous.
Boren and Powers were given carte blanche by the regents to determine their school’s conference future, up to and including shifting their conference allegiance from the Big 12 to another league. Ultimately, however, the regents will need to sign off on whatever moves Boren and Powers decide to make, although the board’s approval is expected to be of the “rubber stamp” variety.
Boren said after the meeting that he’s held “informal talks” with the Pac-12 that have been “constructive”, and that his school is working closely with in-state rival Oklahoma State, which will hold its own regents meeting Wednesday. It’s long been assumed that OSU is attached to OU’s hip in regards to future conference affiliation.
As far as it concerns OU, and by extension OSU, it’s become almost a foregone conclusion that they will be out of the Big 12 and into the Pac-12 at some point in the not-too-distant future. In fact, CFT has been informed within the last 24 hours that it now would be considered a huge surprise if OU/OSU did not move their conference affiliation westward; that couldn’t be said a week ago, a source said.
“What’s important to us is long term stability,” Boren said Monday. “We don’t want to continue…in situation where the conference has to be evaluated every year.
Boren also couldn’t say with any degree of certainty that OU will be in the same conference as UT. The Longhorns have been connected to the ACC over the past few days, although that ship appears to have sailed. It’s believed UT’s preference is to remain a member of the Big 12; the departures of OU and OSU could force their southern neighbor to look to the Pac-12, which has been reported recently to be UT’s ultimate destination by some observers.
Powers, who declined to speak to the media following the meeting, told UT regents that staying in the Big 12 remains an option for the school.
There’s no timeline for a decision from either school, although it’s believed the Oklahoma institutions could apply for admission to the Pac-12 as soon the end of the week, if not earlier. If UT can resolve issues regarding The Longhorn Network, they, along with Texas Tech, appear likely to follow suit, although that could take considerably longer given the variables the LHN brings to the equation.