Newly-appointed Oklahoma State president Dr. Kayse Shrum on Friday called out her colleagues at Oklahoma over what she said was a “lack of engagement and transparency” from the school “over the past months on a matter with serious ramifications for our state.”
Dr. Shrum’s message comes in the midst of significant conference realignment discussions that seem to be on their way towards the Big 12 losing both OU and Texas to the SEC, with Oklahoma State left picking up the pieces.
“We are disappointed by the lack of engagement and transparency from our colleagues at OU,” she said on Twitter. “We have historically worked together to advance our state and address issues based on a partnership built on trust.”
News of OU and Texas’ reported interest in leaving the Big 12 for the SEC arrived this week and has escalated quickly, with a shocking revelation coming down Friday indicating that both will formally announce within 24 to 48 their intentions to leave the league and join the SEC. It’s unclear how soon that change would take place if approved, and also unclear is what it would mean for the outgoing schools who are tied to the grant-of-rights television deal through 2025. They would owe upwards of $70 million.
From an Oklahoma State perspective, it doesn’t seem as if there’s anything to be done right now outside of back-channeling (and maybe praying) something good comes of all this. Losing OU and Texas is bad, but just how bad is unclear and dependent largely on what happens to OSU next. The Pac-12? The Big Ten? C-USA? Everything seems on the table now.
Dr. Shrum added this to her statement:
To that end, we will continue to work with purpose to the advancement of our state and the betterment of our fellow Oklahomans. In the ever-changing college athletic landscape, we will honor our values and ethics as we consider the next steps.
Our commitment to our student-athletes is top of mind, and their best interests will be represented prominently. We enjoy a proud athletic heritage with more National Championships than any other Big 12 university, and we will aggressively pursue the opportunities ahead.
Additionally, our university enjoys a great brand known for education, research, and service, and we will move forward with strength.
A strong statement from Dr. Shrum, who is less than one month on the job yet is dealing with a five-alarm fire the likes of which Burns Hargis never had to try and stamp out. Her power is no doubt limited — no one can stop OU from going rogue and there’s only so much political power in the state to pressure the fellas up in Norman, which might be time wasted — but good on her for holding their feet to the fire. It’s one thing to leave for a better opportunity, which OU is seemingly doing with its move to the SEC, but it’s another to leave OSU in the dark and fending for itself.
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