Berry Tramel: OU wants no part of the SEC

Culture and academics would lead the Sooners toward the Pac-12 if the Big 12 falls apart.
by Berry Tramel Published: August 13, 2011

And that's why OU brass prefers the Pac-12. Academic status. It appeals to the Sooners' ivory tower crowd to be in a league with Stanford, Cal-Berkeley and UCLA. No, Vanderbilt isn't Nashville Junior College, but the SEC lacks the academic clout of the Pac-12.

I know, I know. I hate academic snobbery just as much as you do. Be it from the Ivy Leaguers or goobers like Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who last year took potshots at OSU and Texas Tech. I swear, Boone Pickens was so mad, I thought he was going to buy the Mizzou campus and burn it to the ground.

But academic status or snobbery or whatever you want to call it is with us always, and a conference relationship with the likes of the California intelligentsia appeals to those in power out here on the prairie. As it should. Just as Nebraskans were proud of their newfound status upon joining the Big Ten.

And as for the SEC recruiting culture, that's not just a Sooner thing. That's a widespread belief, even before the recent scandals that have plagued the conference that has won the last five national championships. Join the SEC, join a band of thieves.

I know, OU has a checkered past with the NCAA. But under Boren, the university has worked hard to redeem its image. Recovering alcoholics shouldn't spend all night in a bar, and recovering NCAA rule-breakers shouldn't join a league where rules not broken are severely bent.

I don't know if the SEC's reputation is deserved, although the Scam Newton case smells on both sides of the Mississippi. In this case, perception is as good as reality. Most football schools outside the SEC believe that league plays fast and loose on the field by playing fast and loose with NCAA rules.

So if OU has any other options, it will say thanks but no thanks to the SEC. And just might say yes to the Pac-12, should the Big 12 fall.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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