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Berry Tramel


OU football: The greatest example ever of inflation

by Berry Tramel Published: January 16, 2012

I came across a story out of our archives last week that is a greatest example of inflation. It comes from a 1981 OU regents meeting. Here’s the first paragraph:

“A 20 percent boost in ticket prices for University of Oklahoma home football games and a new contract and pay raise for OU football coaches were approved by the OU regents today.”

Wow. Twenty percent. That’s stout. And it probably felt like a hit in 1981. But here’s the kicker: the ticket prices from $12.50 to $15. Which made OU’s tickets the nation’s most expensive.

Hey, $15 in 1981 was no small sum. A Hershey bar was a quarter (a dollar today, most places). A postage stamp was 18 cents. A box of Oreos was $1.69 (over $4 today).  But still, $15 seems quaint by today’s standards. OU regent president Dee Replogle registered the lone dissenting vote. “I just felt OU didn’t need to be first in everything,” Replogle said.

The football salary raises are a hoot. Barry Switzer was awarded a new five-year contract and given a $6,000 per year pay boost — to $56,000. Bob Stoops now makes almost 100 times that. The $1 Hershey bar seem like a steal.

Eight assistant coaches also received raises: Merv Johnson to $42,000; Galen Hall $40,000; Gary Gibbs $39,000; Bobby Proctor, $37,000; Rex Norris $38,000; Lucious Selmon $37,000; Bill Shimek $31,000 and Scott Hill, $30,000. Now Clemson is trying to lure OU co-defensive coordinator Brent Venables with a contract that could approach $1 million a year.

Now you know why football tickets cost $60, $70 and $80 a game in 2011. The only question is, how do they keep them so low?



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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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