Oklahoma State held its football media day on Saturday, giving media members the first chance to talk to OSU brass since Friday’s bombshell of conference realignment.
Mike Gundy had plenty to say about the additions of Arizona, Arizona State and Utah to the Big 12, but we also heard from OSU athletic director Chad Weiberg on the conference’s expansion. Here are some highlights from his press availability.
Weiberg welcomed the four-corner schools and expressed appreciation for league leadership in getting the deal down.
“Obviously Commissioner [Brett] Yormark, who I think did a fantastic job with his leadership,” said Weiberg. “We’re very, very excited about where the conference is headed and the future of the league moving forward, and I’m excited about this year as well. So in the meantime, we’ll kick off this football season and I’m looking forward to seeing what Cowboy football has to offer this year.”
Weiberg also recognized the steps taken by previous Big 12 commish Bob Bowlsby and how they set the league up to rebound in a huge way over the last two years.
“If you think about just two years ago what the narrative was about the Big 12 Conference and how that’s changed two years later,” said Weiberg. “I think it really starts with Bob Bowlsby’s leadership and bringing in the four new members into the conference in September of 2021.
“That was good. Those are great new members coming in with competitive athletic departments, so I don’t think we’d be where we are and able to make this move if we hadn’t made that move and those additions. That was sort of the beginning of the stabilization. This is just kind of the next round of positioning our conference to move forward.”
Weiberg conceded that while there are inherent challenges in expanding to 16 teams, like scheduling, he said that those challenges could also offer opportunities.
“From a travel standpoint, it does help certainly with some of the sports,” he said. “Every sport is a little bit different in the way they compete and the way they travel. We have not gotten into those kinds of details yet, obviously, but I think it does present some options for us in terms of minimizing, to the degree possible, some of that travel for our student-athletes.”
Overall, the league is in a significantly better place now — and moving into the future — than most could have imagined when OU and Texas made the deal to leave for the SEC, or even the years preceding. Weiberg pinned a lot of that on support from the remaining schools’ fans.
“We’ve got really, really passionate fanbases,” said Weiberg. “Our stadiums are full, our arenas are full. The support is high for all of our student-athletes in all of our sports. Another thing is leadership. I think these things happen not by accident. You have to give a lot of people, the commissioners, our presidents and chancellors, our athletic directors, you have to give them credit for stacking a series of good decisions on top of each other to get where we are to survive and grow and position ourselves in the place we’re in now.”