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High school football: Oklahoma pulls out of Oil Bowl after charity money rift

OIL BOWL — A dispute over charitable donations has brought an end to the Oil Bowl, the annual football game between All-Star teams from Oklahoma and Texas.
by Ryan Aber Published: March 14, 2013

A dispute over charitable donations has brought an end to the Oil Bowl, the annual football game between all-star teams from Oklahoma and Texas.

The Oklahoma Coaches Association announced Thursday that the game would be replaced by a Texas-only all-star game, while organizers of the game said they were hopeful the game could return to its traditional format in 2014.

While OCA Executive Director Milt Bassett said that would happen if the OCA was given its portion of the proceeds from the 2012 game, that seems unlikely.

The Oil Bowl has been staged in Wichita Falls, Texas, featuring teams from the two states, in almost every year since 1945.

The game started in 1938 as an all-star game between two Texas teams.

The Oil Bowl has traditionally split proceeds to Texas and Oklahoma charities.

All of the $18,000 proceeds from this year's games were donated to Shriners Hospitals.

Oil Bowl Chairman Gary Hill said that was something Bassett agreed to in October 2011 after not securing a charity for last year’s proceeds.

“He came down here in January of 2012 when I stood in front of TV cameras and made the announcement and he didn’t say anything,” Hill said. “We talked several times before the game and he never said anything. On the Thursday before the game, I spent three hours in his hotel room and it never came up then.”

Bassett said he decided not to say anything while TV cameras rolled because he didn’t want to ruin the event for the Oklahoma and Texas coaches who had traveled to Wichita Falls for the introductory press conference.

But he said he made clear that the Oklahoma side's half of the proceeds would have to go through the OCA to a charity of their choosing.

“I couldn’t even have decided to do what he wanted to do if I wanted to,” Bassett said. “That’s something I’d have to go to our board about.”

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by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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