CAMPUS CORNER — So, OU prez David Boren talked today. I’ll get out of the way. Here’s what he said.
“It’s too early yet to know exactly what the outcome will be. Our main responsibility will be protecting the interest of the University of Oklahoma, do what’s in the best long-term interest of the university and our athletics department and the fans. That’s what we’ll attempt to do to. Beyond that, while we haven’t been saying much publicly – frankly, on purpose, because we’re at the sensitive point of discussions among schools. Too much said in public reduces success of our goals rather than enhances it.
“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. 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.
(what’s goal that cannot be compromised?)
“If I start discussing too much detail, I’d compromise. We obviously want stability in our conference relationships. We want partners that are above outstanding, both athletically and academically. A conference that’s strong is not only stable, but it’s one in which there are multiple relationships, along with sports, between university members. We have some great partners in the existing Big 12. We have interest from other conferences and other universities. It’s really attributed to the strength of the programs at the University of Oklahoma that there is so much interest in us. We have to carefully evaluate the various comments being made to us and various possibilities before we decide what’s best for the University of Oklahoma.
(disappointed this has happened again?)
“I hoped we had stability. I guess I’m just disappointed that the original Big 12 is not the same Big 12. I was extremely disappointed when Nebraska departed. I was disappointed when Colorado departed. Obviously, as you’ve tracked my plane flying here or there, you know that I would be disappointed that Texas A&M left. I was personally involved in trying to see if there was some way that that would not happen. So, it is a disappointment that those schools have left and that we face the challenge that we do today.”
(have to have 12 teams to be viable?)
“I don’t think anything has to be, at all. Everything doesn’t have to be done today. There’s nothing that says the conference will collapse at nine. We have a full season to play and all that to go through before …
“Obviously, I think eventually – that doesn’t mean one year, maybe it’s going to take two or three years … if we were eventually to get back to 12, I would feel better about it. On the other hand, we don’t know what’s going to happen. Some things are trends beyond the control of any one university. Is there going to be a continued trend toward consolidation? Or are we going to see conferences that are now 12 (teams) – and there are three of them, I guess – move to 16. Is that going to happen? Maybe that’s not going to happen. We’ve seen both. We’ve seen tendency toward consolidation and then you’ve seen some pushback in the very largest conferences that say it’s gotten too big. We’re trying to sort all that out.
“At this point in time, I’ll be very honest with you in saying I do not know with certainty, or perhaps even can’t hazard a totally intelligent guess as to what our final decision will be. But we are carefully looking over all the options. We are … there’s no school more active in the Big 12 more active than we are right now. Of course, Joe Castiglione’s a wonderful partner with me in being active in this process. Our regents are a very cohesive, supportive group in working with us. … I think that gives us a good leg up on anybody. Nobody has more unity in their university, of being ready to go in which direction is in our best interest and helps us.
(ball’s in OU’s court?)
“I’ll just put it this way: I think we’ve been ever since we became a member of this conference, we’re a very influential member of the conference. I think we remain a very influential member of the conference. I’ll just put it that way. Influential not only in this conference, but influential in athletics across the country. It’s a tribute to the strength of this program. I’ll put it this way: I don’t think there’s any chance OU’s going to end up being a wallflower.”