It’s been a year since Oklahoma and Texas announced their decisions to leave the Big 12 for the SEC. It left the remaining conference members stunned and upset. No school probably felt more bitter than Oklahoma State, and head coach Mike Gundy reminded everyone during Big 12 Football Media Day.
On Future of Bedlam Rivalry
On stage, Gundy answered questions about the state of his own program. However, he got very blunt about any sort of continued rivalry with his in-state rival Oklahoma.
“The future of Bedlam is there’s a year or two left,” Gundy said. “I mean, that’s the future of Bedlam, based on somebody else’s decision.”
Clearly, he is still miffed over what Oklahoma did, and there’s validity to him and Oklahoma State feeling that way. Oklahoma kept them in the dark on the SEC decision and left them to fend for themselves while pairing up with an out-of-state rival. College sports in a business, but it doesn’t that move hurt any less for the Cowboys.
There is some irony to his sentiments because the Cowboys are reportedly engaged in “active conversation” with the SEC. Meaning, the Bedlam Rivalry may not be going away. It may be just moving from one conference to another. However, there’s no indication an Oklahoma State move is coming soon. So, Gundy is working with what his knows.
Gundy later explained why maintaining the rivalry in a nonconference setting isn’t “feasible” off stage.
“We’re scheduled out through ‘32? ‘33?” Gundy said. “Most conferences, once all this settles down, you’re gonna have a minimum of nine conference games, in my opinion. So you’re talking about contract buyouts, and you’re talking about convincing head coaches to play another game, which would be like playing another conference game. There’s a lot going on.”
Questioning Why Oklahoma and Texas Remained Involved
Also off stage, Gundy devoted some time to question why Oklahoma and Texas were still involved in league meetings.
“It’s interesting,” Gundy said, per ESPN’s Dave Wilson. “We go to conference meetings, and OU and Texas are in there. They’re still in the conference. But I’m guessing when they leave, they’re scratching down things that can help them when they’re in the SEC. So it is an unusual situation… The new commissioner [Brett Yormark], I mean, honestly, if I was him, I wouldn’t let OU and Texas in any meetings.”
Gundy’s got a point. At the moment, Oklahoma and Texas are still part of the Big 12 and will be until July 1, 2025. They need to look out for themselves and make sure their needs are address over the remaining three years. However, if those programs don’t want to be a part of the future of the conference, should they still get a say? Those two programs clearly do not have a shared vision with the eight remaining conferences members and the four newcomers (BYU, Cincinnati, Houston & UCF). If it were up to Mike Gundy, UT and OU would be shut out.
Gundy didn’t have an answer on if Oklahoma and Texas would bolt before grant of rights expire in 2025. Earlier in the day, new Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark didn’t rule out the possibility.
Yormark said he's looking for a "win-win" scenario with departures of OU-Texas, that whatever happens has to be in the best interest of the conference.
— Heather Dinich (@CFBHeather) July 13, 2022
It’s unclear what a “win-win” situation would look like if Texas and Oklahoma departed the conference early. However, Mike Gundy would happily welcome the two schools leaving before 2025 for one big financial reason.
“If they leave early and they dump $80 million our way, I think that’s awesome,” Gundy said.
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