MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OU & OSU Sports

September 19, 2011

OSU would like to stay put

Oklahoma State University president Burns Hargis and athletic director Mike Holder know football coach Mike Gundy’s preferences when it comes to a conference choice.

If the Big 12 remains a viable conference, Gundy wants OSU to stay and play in  America’s heartland. If the Big 12 dies, Gundy wants the university administration to consider the life of student-athletes in its decision.

“It takes me about two minutes to say what I think is best,” Gundy said. “If you’ve been in many administrative meetings and stuff, you’re just kind of spinning your wheels. I just put faith in coach Holder and president Hargis to do what’s best for the student-athletes at Oklahoma State University and our league.”

OSU’s administration has asked Gundy’s opinion and he has given it to them, he said.

“They just don’t ask that many times — just like a couple. I’d like to say a lot, but I’m not going too. I’ve learned. ... I’m learning as I get older,” Gundy said.

The Oklahoma State University/A&M Board of Regents have scheduled a special meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Click Family Alumni Hall at OSU’s ConocoPhillips Alumni Center in Stillwater to discuss athletic conference membership.

Monday, the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents gave OU president David Boren the right to choose a new conference for the Sooners. The decision is a key step in case Oklahoma chooses to leave the Big 12.

“This is not an announcement that we are leaving for the Pac-12,” Boren said. “No one should read into today that we have made a decision.”

Regents at the University of Texas also met Monday and gave UT president Bill Powers authority to pick a conference.

Texas A&M already informed the Big 12 of its plans to join the Southeastern Conference.

The University of Texas played UCLA in Los Angeles on Saturday. The Austin American-Statesman reported Monday that Powers met with Pacific-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, discussing how the Pac-12 could accommodate Texas’ Longhorn Network.

Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State appear to be ready to join the Pac-12 and create a 16-team super conference. The Pac-12 won’t make any move until the four schools apply or request membership, the Austin newspaper reported.

If the four schools and Pac-12 join forces, the conference would be aligned in four, four-team pods. The four Big 12 schools will be in one pod to preserve rivalries. Teams would play every other team in their pod each season, along with two teams from each of the other three pods. The arrangement would equate to a nine-game conference schedule and allow each school to have three nonconference games, the Austin newspaper reported

If the pod system is adopted, the contestants in the championship game would be decided by best overall conference records, the paper said. Any two teams could play in the championship game in a given year.

“I don’t know what kind of blunt instrument, like east and west, north and south, would make sense,” Scott said. “We’ve got a lot of flexibility and a lot of creativity we could bring to alignment issues.”

Chris Day is the sports editor at The Stillwater NewsPress.

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