NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma's Board of Regents will at least discuss conference realignment at a regularly scheduled meeting Monday afternoon in Tulsa.
The board made that known Thursday when its agenda was made publicly available, required by open records laws.
The penultimate item on the entire schedule — which includes myriad matters concerning OU, Rogers State and Cameron University — is simply called “Conference Alignment.”
An asterisk accompanies the item, noting that the board could go into executive session to talk about OU's athletic future. It likely would do that, to prevent the presence of reporters for the discussion.
The unabridged agenda later says the board “will discuss potential legal ramifications of athletic conference realignment options.” It says the members will “consider new athletic conference membership.”
Finally, it says they will “take any appropriate action.”
The Big 12 and, in a sense, the rest of the college football world has been in a holding pattern for the past week or so, 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 of 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 president David Boren left the door wide open for the Sooners exploring other leagues. Oklahoma has most commonly been associated with the Pac-12 – something that has never been refuted by OU, Pac-12 or SEC sources.
Boren said Sept. 2 that a resolution – one way or another - would come about in “the next two to three weeks,” placing the week ahead and Monday's regents meeting at the far end of that window of time.
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.