In an op-ed last month, former OU coach Bob Stoops defended the Sooners’ leap to the SEC and responded to criticism from Oklahoma State about the apparent Big 12-sized blindside, saying that OU could not have been accepted to the SEC if the Cowboys were a packaged deal in the move.
In a discussion recently on the subject of conference realignment, however, Stoops said that had realignment talks progressed further last decade, that may not have been the case.
“There were serious conversations [10 or 11 years ago about leaving the Big 12],” Stoops said. “It was a definite possibility. And at that time, had there been a move, Oklahoma State with us was a possibility with that — and was likely. Now, though, the landscape has all changed. TV contracts have changed, other teams have joined other leagues. It becomes a lack of space and opportunity.”
Stoops said last month that OU requiring OSU to be part of a packaged deal to join a new league would have limited opportunities. “The strongest conferences would not accept OU if we were to require OSU to join as well,” he said. The message struck a harsh tone and doubled down on a message repeated by OU brass consistently over the last month: OU did what it thought was best for OU, even if it wasn’t best for Oklahoma State.
“We wished it could have worked that way [where OSU could have joined OU in a move to another conference],” Stoops added. “But we don’t always get the say-so that we want. These other conferences can dictate what the possibility is and what isn’t.”
Stoops added that Oklahoma State has a “great athletic program” and raved about its bonafides.
“They’ve been a top 20, 25 football team for a decade now, 10 years or more, and you look at all their sports — they’re all good,” he said. “I hate it. I’m in the state of Oklahoma. I really enjoy Oklahoma State and follow them. Mike Gundy is a close friend of mine. I root for them all the time, other than when they play us. So in the end it’s just the lack of opportunity isn’t there.”
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