The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents has authorized school President David Boren to make any necessary decisions regarding the school's conference affiliation.
OU's regents met Monday in Tulsa and unanimously approved the decision to give Boren full authority to take action — whatever and whenever that might be.
Boren said after the meeting that he has had “informal” discussions with Pac-12 officials and that those talks were “warm” and “constructive.”
Boren also said that OU was working closely with representatives at Oklahoma State University, reiterating the schools' desire to remain in the same conference.
Oklahoma State's regents have called a Wednesday meeting to discuss conference realignment.
The Big 12 and, in a sense, the rest of the college football world has been in a holding pattern for the past two weeks waiting for someone to make the next move in this conference chess game. Texas A&M made the first this summer, saying it would withdraw from the Big 12 if it found another conference partner.
The SEC was presumed all along to be that partner, and it moved forward to bring in the Aggies' as the conference's 13th member. After initially signing off on the decision, a few Big 12 schools — Baylor, in particular — made it known they would not waive their rights to legal action if Texas A&M's move led to the fall of the Big 12. That stalled the move becoming official, because of the SEC's hesitancy to welcome Texas A&M with a legal cloud hanging over it.
Baylor's rumblings also turned attention toward the fate of the Big 12 and toward OU, where Boren has left the door wide open for the Sooners exploring other leagues. Oklahoma has most commonly been associated with the Pac-12.
OU's interest in the Pac-12 extends beyond the athletic world, to academia. Boren has told associates he would like to align his school with academic powerhouses such as Cal and Stanford.
Sources familiar with negotiations have said the Pac-12 would ideally like a package that would include OU and Texas. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech would likely also be involved, because of their links to the states' flagship schools, to push Pac-12 membership to 16 — and so-called "superconference" status.
It still remains unclear whether OU and OSU would receive the necessary votes to enter the Pac-12 without Texas. Some close to the talks say it has been discussed and OU and OSU would be in. Others are not so sure, saying Texas means more to league expansion than it has been perceived.
OU sources have said the school believes it would be accepted without Texas, but they were not firm in their wording about those prospects. Nine of 12 Pac-12 presidents would have to approve any decision. Those presidents have been polled informally — and OU and OSU received support — but no formal meeting has been held.