Oklahoma State booster Boone Pickens met with the media prior to the Cowboys game vs. Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday. Here's a look at what Pickens had to say:
With the news that Texas A&M is leaving the Big 12, what's your take on the future of the league and Oklahoma State?
I guess the Aggies are gone, but I haven't seen where the SEC's invited them yet. Has anybody seen that? I'd like to see that to confirm it. So, I guess we're looking for another team in the conference or we're looking West.
I dunno. Don't rush the monkey, and you'll see a better show. What I'm saying is, maybe be a little patient here and see what happens. We don't have to decide this this weekend.
Do you feel like there's been a rush on a decision?
Gosh, yeah, everybody's frantic. I've talked to everybody here, and that's all we talk about. But if we're going to take somebody, the obvious one to me is TCU. I don't want Notre Dame. Notre Dame's already got a network, and you know, I guess they're damaged merchandise as far as I'm concerned. So, I don't want Notre Dame. And BYU, who in the hell knows where Provo, Utah, is? The natural one is TCU. If that's it, do it and go forward.
Five years from today, if you had to bet your last dollar, is the Big 12 still in existence?
I don't think it'll be in existence. I think this discussion's going to come up every year as long as the conference is not equal, so you've got to have an equal deal like the SEC or the Big Ten. If you don't have, it'll always be a sore spot that'll be continually discussed.
But I think this may be the first step ... that you're headed for regional conferences that lead to the national championship. It starts to look like the basketball in some ways. You have regionals — southeast, southwest, northeast, northwest or something — that put everybody in play and give 'em a chance to be a national championship.
If the old Gallagher-Iba were sitting over here and football games were still being played at Lewis Field, how would that have changed the landscape for OSU in terms of conference realignment?
If you go back and look where Holder and I were seven or eight years ago, he said that if we're going to get competitive, we were going to have to spend $300 million. And I said, "Mike, there is no way I'm going to do that." Well, I was wrong. We talked about it, and I said, "I do want to get competitive because I don't think the Big 12 can survive." He said, "Who do you think goes out of it?" I said, "Well, I can tell you this ... we're right at the top that are not going to survive. It's gonna be us and two or three others. I don't want that to happen." But we had that conversation several times that if we didn't do something for ourselves, nobody's going to want us. I think we did something for ourselves. I think we're competitive and everybody sees it that way. We have facilities that are as good as any and better than most, and I think our coaching staff, Coach Gundy's done a very good job, I think Holder's done a very good job. Somebody asked me the other day, "Did you get your money's worth?" I said, "I got my money's worth plus." I'm very happy with the results. Now, I can give you a couple ballgames that I wish we would've won, but overall, I got my money's worth.
Where do you see OSU ending up when all is said and done with the conference shakeout? What conference?
I don't know. I think OU and OSU, we're Oklahomans, and we're gonna stick together, I think. I don't have any reason to not think that. We go together wherever we go. I think the odds are if you can't fix the Big 12, you go West. And I think everybody pretty well feels that way. If there are going to be questions about the Big 12 with the instability, would it be best to settle things right now?
If it's going to be unsettled every year, I'm afraid that's exactly what we're faced with. But you can fix the Big 12 now. We can. But it has to go to an equal deal. That's what you have to do. And it's not an equal deal. So if you can't get it fixed in the Big 12, you might as well go West.
A year ago, it seemed Texas was in the driver's seat. It doesn't feel that way so much any more. Do you sense a change that with the Longhorn Network they're in a little different spot?
The network could've been the straw that broke the camel's back. A lot of people did not understand how dominant Texas was in the Big 12, how powerful they were. My speech to the Aggies -- and I made it very high up in the deal -- I wanted them to say that it's an equal deal or we're going to go where we can get an equal deal. And they didn't do that. I thought if they would, it would explain more to everybody why they left. I said to them, "Fellas ... make it real clear to everybody why you're leaving. If you don't, it's going to make you look like you're a sorehead, like something was wrong. Just clarify it -- you want an equal deal, and if you don't get it, you're going to go somewhere where you get an equal deal. That simple." But I didn't sell that.
A lot of fingers have been pointed at Texas, but do you feel like ESPN had a hand in all this?
You can't blame ESPN. they're in business to make money and sell their programs and all. They laid it out there, and Texas took it. DeLoss Dodds is a friend of mine, but DeLoss had too many cards and he played every damn one of them. I think that's too bad. But you get tired of saying, "Ahhh" while you get something shoved down your throat. I think that's where we came out.
Do you feel OSU and OU ... are going to be able have some say so in what their future is?
They're not going to dictate to the other schools, but right now, what we have is a conference of nine teams, and you've got eight and one. Eight of them are struggling with Texas, and Texas stands alone. Well, I don't care who you are. One can't beat eight.I don't care how powerful you are. You need to get that cleared up. Texas needs to get that cleared up. All of us do. I don't think Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are going to dictate to the conference. What I want are people to sit down and work it out and get it fixed and stop talking about it. I don't want this to come up again next year, but I do think you've got to go to a conference where everybody's equal.
Is that going to happen?
That's why I say, "Don't rush the monkey and you'll see a better show." I think all that's coming us for us to see pretty quick, and you know, we can sit here all afternoon and predict what's going to happen. You've got three or four cases, and somebody's going to say, "You didn't mention anything about the Big East." No, I'm not going to mention anything about the Big East. You can come up with all sorts of scenarios, but I think the likely one ... is stay in the Big 12 and add a team or go West. I think that's kind of where you are.