BY TRAVIS HANEY Staff Writer thaney@opubco.com Modified: August 31, 2011 at 7:31 pm •  Published: August 31, 2011

— Oklahoma's Bob Stoops knew it was coming. Just Tuesday night, during his radio call-in show, he called Texas A&M's move to leave the Big 12 “inevitable.”

By Wednesday morning, it was reality, with the school's president letting the league know it would begin the application process to join another conference by next summer.

But where does that leave OU, a storied program that has won seven national championships — and is intent on going for No. 8 this fall?

“Of course, I have to pay attention to it,” Stoops said. “I have great faith in our leadership at the university to handle those matters.”

Both OU athletic director Joe Castiglione and president David Boren were asked for comment throughout the day Wednesday, directly and through OU officials, but there was no statement from the school's higher-ups.

Oklahoma remained as quiet Wednesday as it has throughout all of the uncertainty and departures within the Big 12. As much as it has not been publicly heard or seen, OU officials have privately assured fans and told reporters that they are diligently working behind the scenes regarding the program's future.

“I feel our administration knows we have a strong hand to play,” Stoops said Tuesday. “At a school with the tradition and history we've got, we know that it's a strong hand.”

Stoops said he expects OU and/or the Big 12 to act “swiftly” in response to A&M's impending departure. He said Wednesday that OU officials have “kept me in the loop … they value my opinion.”

But Stoops said his involvement should be tempered, “because I trust their knowledge of how it broadly affects the university. They know better what's best for our program.”

OU hosts Texas A&M on Nov. 5. If this is the Aggies' last year in the Big 12, Stoops might have made his last trip to A&M's Kyle Field. Will he miss its vaunted environment?



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