Trust, partnership has crumbled within Big 12

by Berry Tramel Published: September 19, 2011
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But without Texas and Tech, the Pac-12 is not nearly as attractive. Still, the Sooners are considering it, since life in the Big 12 appears worse.

Boren didn't take kindly to Baylor's “threat of litigation” if A&M leaves for the Southeastern Conference, to which it has been accepted.

“If it takes the threat of litigation to keep a conference together, that's not the right way to proceed,” Boren said. “Stability is based upon trust. It's also based on partnership.”

Boren grew a little nostalgic, recalling the Big Eight fondly and even wishing Nebraska and Colorado hadn't bolted a year ago.

“I have tremendous regret that that's happened,” Boren said. “I would simply say it is not a strong vote of confidence in the conference office that this has happened in such a short period of time.”

But Boren also lobbed some messages at the Longhorns and their Longhorn Network's attempts to air high school content.

“We're for a level playing field,” Boren said. “We want to see a conference in which all the members play an equal role. Whatever conference we join, or whatever conference we stay in, the University of Oklahoma has no ambition to dominate any conference.”

That puts Boren in a tough spot. The Sooners had options a year ago and decided to stick it out with Texas in the Big 12. Since then, the Longhorn Network became ESPN's baby, and now you've got Godzilla running amok.

Stick it out with Texas and ESPN now, and OU has lost the grounds to complain. The Sooners like being in a league with the ‘Horns, be it Big 12 or Pac-12, but they don't want ESPN pushing its ample weight around. And only Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott can stop that.

If OU stays with a patched-up Big 12 now, the Longhorns win. They get what they wanted; their ESPN network intact, thanks to a bullied Big 12 that has no other option.

You see, that's the Big 12's problem. New members can solve the Big 12's math problem. It can't solve the Big 12's trust problem.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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