David Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma President David Boren today broke the school's silence over the Texas A&M decision to break away from the Big 12, and the Big 12-now-minus-three and the Sooners' future in it. He said OU is considerding all of it options.
In the days since Texas A&M announced its decision to pull out of the Big 12 and formally notified the conference office of that intention, there have been follow-up media stories suggesting that how the University of Oklahoma ultimately responds to all the reconstitution going on in the Big 12 will determine the future of the conference.
Until now, Oklahoma has remained quiet about Texas A&M's recent actions other than making it known that OU was committed to making the Big 12 work. As recently as Thursday, a source close to Oklahoma administration officials said President Boren and athletic director Joe Castiglione were working on the Big 12's behalf.
That silence ended on Friday when Boren said he has been "consumed" this week considering what the Sooners' next step will be. "It's too early yet to know exactly what the outcome will be," Boren said. He said he expects a decision about what Oklahoma will do regarding its future and the school's future in the Big 12 to be made as early as this coming Monday and no later than the end of the month.
"I really don't think this is something that's going to linger on beyond two or three weeks," Boren said.
Oklahoma was one of the schools targeted a year ago by the Pac-12 for expansion, and the OU source says membership in the Pac-12 Conference holds appeal for Oklahoma administrators. Boren said the Sooners have received interest from multiple conferences.
Boren acknowledged that Oklahoma has intentionally been mum this week in the aftermath of Texas A&M's big news, but he cautioned not to mistake that for lack of proactivity. Boren said he has been busy this week speaking with other Big 12 presidents about the further-weakened state of the conference. The Oklahoma president even went to College Station this week to try to persuade Texas A&M to reconsider its decision to leave the Big 12.
"There's no school in the Big 12 more active than we are right now," Boren said.
"At this point in time," he said, "I'll be very honest with you in saying I do not know with certainty, or perhaps even can't hazard a totally intelligent guess, as to what our final decision will be. But we are carefully looking over all the options.
"I'll put it this way," Boren said, "I don't think there's any chance OU's going to end up being a wallflower."
The Oklahoma president spoke Friday at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new $75 million residence hall on the Norman campus that will be home for many of the school's student athletes.