Boren transcript: Part Deux
OKC — New dateline. Transcribed whole way home.
(sooner rather than later? more specific timeline?)
“I think I’ve given parameters before. I said it could be one day, one week, three weeks. I think I also said three months at one time; that didn’t get reported. I don’t think it should be that long, so that we can all go back to focusing on our principle mission at universities.
(SEC or Big Ten options at all?)
“Well, I wouldn’t comment on that. If I told you, I’d have to kill you. (speaking to Dean Blevins; Berry Tramel heard advocating this in background) You’re too good of a person for me to have to want to do that. I think we’ve had options. It’s pretty well known we had options last year.
“I don’t even want to comment on that. I think, at this point in time, we want to examine all of our options. I would say that the principle focus, beyond the Big 12 itself – which is still a focus for us – is the Pac-12.
(are fans/players part of OU’s best interest?)
“It’s extremely important. You have to look at this way: One of the most important things for our fans and our students is for us to be a member of a stable conference, so we do not continue to have distracting dramas about the conference itself. We are in a very strong position at this time. I don’t need to tell you where are we in terms of athletics. I don’t need to tell you where we are in terms of academics. If we were able to use a stock market term, the stock of the University of Oklahoma is trading very high at this moment. I think it’s a time, then, for us to really look at our options and not postpone decisions but to make decisions and take them.
(Pac-12 say to back off? Academic stuff? Just OU/OSU?)
“No one has given us any words of discouragement on any front. No conference. Nor has the Big 12 given us any words of discouragement, either.
(another Texas question. Already covered this turf, right?)
“I think we have to look at what’s best for the University of Oklahoma. We can’t … our regents were not confirmed by the governor or confirmed by the Legislature to look after the best interest of any other university, except for the University of Oklahoma and with due regard to our partners at Oklahoma State. Those are the most important things to us and that’s what we’re going to act upon. Other universities feel the same sense of responsibility, I’m sure. I’m sure they’ll do what’s best for their universities. This isn’t just a decision for today. This is a decision that will affect us for years to come.
“If we were to make a decision that would keep us in an unstable situation, that’s something that, in the long term, would be beneficial to our fans, who like to see us have a chance for successful athletic programs and academic programs, as well. That’s not to say it’s a foregone conclusion that the Big 12 cannot be strengthened and become an attractive option, but it does mean the status quo is certainly not stable and, so, we’ll have to wait and see. That’s one of the things we’re weighing. Can it be made stable? The other things we’re weighing are, what are the kinds of opportunities that might be available to us in the Pac-12, if that’s the direction we decided to go.
(thoughts on 16-team superconferences? Concerns?)
“It’s certainly more complicated than eight. The Big 8 was kind of, as we go back and think nostalgically, sometimes I yearn for the Big 8. I think there are ways around that, if you really work hard at scheduling. If you create, instead of two leagues, if you create pods of four teams each, you can work out a schedule where travel – and, again, that’s important going back to our fans and students – can be minimized and you would play within the pod that geographically was close to you. I think some of these things can be minimized.
“One of the things we have to ask ourselves, too, is, Is conference consolidation moving in an inevitable direction? If it is, we have to keep that in mind, as well. That’s something we have to weigh. Is it? I don’t know. We’ve watched closely what’s happened with Pittsburgh and Syracuse in the last few days. We’re seeing what’s happening nationally. Obviously, the SEC will be expanding if A&M continues to go to the SEC. That’s something else we have to think about.
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