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Oklahoma football: Bob Stoops quietens down after starting several firestorms

College football fans can thank Bob Stoops for a more interesting offseason. Stoops' comments about paying players, the SEC and transfer restrictions drew plenty of attention during the time of year when fans crave football chatter.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 30, 2013

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July has arrived. Time for Bob Stoops to start another firestorm.

In April came the “hungry Sunday” and why players shouldn't be paid.

In May, it was the SEC propaganda line.

In June, Stoops spoke of supporting Mike Gundy's restrictions on Wes Lunt's transfer.

All three times, Stoops made national news, at least in college football circles, proving that when the Oklahoma football coach talks, people listen, even when the Sooners aren't winning big.

But Stoops has clammed up. Declined to talk a couple of weeks ago at the OU caravan in Wichita, Kan., a decision he made before being victimized by a robbery in his home the night before. Stoops even interrupted an interview session with mostly Wichita media and hometown hero Blake Bell, saying his ballplayers couldn't talk, either, as if Bell had been rabble-rousing.

Down in Dallas in June, I asked Stoops why he had become such a lightning rod.

“Come on, you know why,” Stoops said. “This time of year? You guys gotta have something to write about, talk about. It's just this time of year. Everybody blows up whatever they can.”

Well, he's got us there. Talk provocatively in October, and your words might not cross state lines. But in the offseason, when fans still crave football chatter even without football games, anything remotely interesting goes coast to coast.

Stoops' problem is that the more he talks, the shakier his ground becomes.

The paying players? I wrote about it in April. Stoops is rock solid, if for no other reason than the value of a scholarship. Stoops clarified to say he's all for a stipend, so long as it accompanies every athletic scholarship. But have you read the reports on America's student-loan debt? It's more than America's credit-card debt. The pooh-poohing of a full scholarship must end.

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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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