Posted by Adam Jacobi
In the wake of the Pac-12's decision to stay at 12 teams for the foreseeable future, Oklahoma was left in the unenviable position to explain to its fans why, after president David Boren had been authorized to act on a new conference and had specifically mentioned the Pac-12 as a destination, the Sooners would not have a destination out west after all. Boren issued a statement Tuesday night on the topic, which is printed below in full:
"We were not surprised by the Pac 12's decision to not expand at this time. Even though we had decided not to apply for membership this year, we have developed a positive relationship with the leadership of the conference and we have kept them informed of the progress we've been making to gain agreement from the Big 12 for changes which will make the conference more stable in the future. Conference stability has been our first goal and we look forward to achieving that goal through continued membership in the Big 12 Conference."
Suffice it to say, 24 hours prior, Oklahoma fans were expecting to hear a far different statement from Boren regarding the future of Sooner athletics. If the Pac-12 doesn't feel comfortable expanding, though, there isn't a whole lot the Sooners can do, except maybe follow Texas A&M to the SEC. In the meantime, Oklahoma has now publicly committed itself to the pursuit of conference stability, so it's likely committed to the Big 12 until at least the next outside seismic change in the conference's alignment. To secession-minded Sooner fans, that's a bitter pill to swallow.
It's also important to note that according to reports, Oklahoma had recently demanded the ouster of Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe as a condition of staying in the Big 12. Oklahoma may not have the leverage to make such demands anymore with the Pac-12 no longer in play, but read Boren's statement again -- Oklahoma is seeking conference stability, and it clearly thinks the first step is Beebe's ouster. Whether the conference will honor that viewpoint anymore is another matter entirely.
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