NORMAN — Revenue sharing has been a central issue in the conference shakeups of the past few years.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is concerned with another imparity in the Big 12 Conference.
“We play at night way more than everybody else,” Stoops said during an interview with The Oklahoman.
“It needs to be spread around. We're talking about competitive advantage and equality, and we're all sharing the money ... let's all share the burden of it. That needs to be talked about more than it is.”
So let's talk about it.
Stoops is right; in the last two seasons, 18 of Oklahoma's 27 games have kicked off at or after 6 p.m. Central time. Eleven of those games have been regular-season Big 12 contests.
Texas, by comparison, has played 13 night games (nine Big 12 games) in the past two seasons.
Oklahoma State, the defending Big 12 champion, has also played at night 13 times during that time span; six of those were Big 12 games.
The Sooners produce higher television ratings than most other programs and, as a result, TV executives put them in prime time slots as often as possible.
It should be pointed out, though, that in the past, OU has chosen to play at night when television didn't dictate it. The 2008 home game against Chattanooga, for example, and the 2009, 64-0 blowout of Idaho State were evening kickoff times chosen by the Sooners.
Still, Stoops thinks it's unfair that OU plays so much in prime time. His players, Stoops said, miss out on time with their families and are put in an academic bind.
The Sooners' 2011 midseason game at Kansas, for example, kicked off at 8:15 p.m.
“We're away at Kansas, literally a 45-minute flight home, and we walk into our home at 3:45 in the morning,” Stoops said. “Are you kidding me?
“Now what does that do for a kid, when he's got Sunday and then he's got to go to school? It's not right. This isn't the NFL. These are still college kids.”
If the one kickoff time announced for the upcoming season so far is any indication, Stoops isn't in for any relief from prime time.
OU's Sept. 1 season opener at UTEP will begin at 9:30 p.m. Central time, although it's a different situation for a couple of reasons.
The game was reportedly going to be played at 2:30 p.m. before both schools agreed to move it back to avoid brutal desert heat.
That is also Labor Day weekend, meaning OU players won't have class Monday to worry about.
But Stoops said his players spend entire gamedays before kickoff in meetings or hotel rooms, which leaves little time for family and friends.
“It's a psychological disadvantage to the young people that we're coaching,” Stoops said. “They walk out of the locker room at 1 in the morning. When do they get to see their parents? Or their friends, and enjoy campus life?”
Stoops said the topic has come up in conference meetings, but he hasn't sensed any progress in evening out the night games.
“In the meetings, we've talked a lot about it,” he said. “It's one of those, ‘Oh, we hear you,' but the whole league is making money from it, so, so what?
“My point is, I don't mind part of it. But everybody should share a part of it.”
Big 12 Conference teams' night games over the past two seasons.
(Note: Nebraska and Colorado's night games are only listed for 2010 because they left the Big 12 after that season)
Oklahoma — 18 overall-11 conference (2011: 9-5; 2010: 9-6)
Baylor — 15-8 (2011: 8-4; 2010: 7-4)
Texas A&M — 14-8 (2011: 4-2; 2010: 10-6)
Texas — 13-9 (2011: 7-4; 2010: 6-5)
Oklahoma State — 13-6 (2011: 7-3; 2010: 6-3)
Texas Tech — 12-8 (2011: 7-5; 2010: 5-3)
Iowa State — 12-7 (2011: 6-4; 2010: 6-3)
Missouri — 11-6 (2011: 4-2; 2010: 7-4)
Kansas State — 10-6 (2011: 6-3; 2010: 4-3)
Kansas — 10-5 (2011: 4-2; 2010: 6-3)
Nebraska — 7-3 (2010)
Colorado — 4-3 (2010)