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Oklahoma Leaving the Big 12?


By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)

The clock is ticking on the Big 12 – can it be saved? Texas A&M announced its intentions to leave the conference last week and now Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could be ready to depart the conference.

Oklahoma president David Boren had some interesting comments on Friday night, which has put the future of the Big 12 seriously in doubt.

Although the Big 12 thought it could continue with nine teams, it’s looking more and more like a disaster and a conference on the brink of crumbling apart.

Here’s part of Boren’s comments, click here to read the rest from the Daily Oklahoman -

“We have to study the best options for ourselves and not lock ourselves into a course of action until we know what’s best for the university,” Boren said. “We’re heavily involved. I don’t know how long it will be before clarity comes to us. 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. I don’t really think this is something that’s going to linger on beyond two or three weeks, from the outside. This has been consuming my life the last few days. It’s a fascinating challenge. We’re just in the search for what’s best for the university.”

“I’ll put it this way: I don’t think there’s any chance OU’s going to end up being a wallflower.”

Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis followed up on Saturday with a statement -

“We want to be clear that we worked actively to encourage Texas A&M to remain in the Big 12 Conference and regret they decided to leave. We are moving ahead. Oklahoma State University’s athletic program has never been stronger from top to bottom, putting us in a position to explore and pursue options, including the possible expansion of our current conference. We are 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.”

Translation: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are going to be proactive in this time of uncertainty in college football.

Also, both schools will be tied together when it comes to making a decision about conference expansion. 

Would the Pac-12 be a conference with more stability than the Big 12 right now? Absolutely. And a division with Arizona, Arizona State, USC, Colorado, UCLA and Utah would be a solid landing spot.

Flash back to last offseason and the Pac-16 was a real possibility. Now, it looks like Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott could be ready to hit a home run in expansion – if Oklahoma and Oklahoma State want to head west.

Scott was turned down last summer by Oklahoma and a couple of other Big 12 schools. However, it looks like they could be on his doorstep looking for an invitation in the next couple of weeks.

If Oklahoma and Oklahoma State depart to the Pac-12, would Texas and Texas Tech follow?

The biggest hurdle to Texas joining a Pac-16 would be the Longhorn Network. After spending a lot of money and energy to get it started, it’s unlikely Texas would be ready to switch its television channel to a Pac-16 regional network. Or would they?

With the Big 12 hoping to expand, the comments by Oklahoma and Oklahoma State won’t help those efforts.

Think BYU isn’t a little scared to accept an invitation with all of this uncertainty?

There’s also the question of what would happen to the rest of the Big 12 teams should the conference break apart? Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Baylor and Iowa State will be hunting for a new home. Big East or Mountain West?

Even though the 2011 season has kicked off, it appears conference expansion and realignment isn’t going to go away.

Get ready college football fans, it could be a busy September with more rumors and news regarding conference realignment.