On Monday, we posted an article explaining why Big 12 expansion is looking less and less likely. As outlined, a big part of that is because Oklahoma president Boren, one of the most outspoken proponents of expansion, has seemingly flipped sides and no longer supports it. Something SI’s Pete Thamel and Dallas Morning News’ Chuck Carlton also reported today.
However, according to president Boren, Oklahoma hasn’t made any decision just yet.
“I do not know where the speculation came from,” Boren said in a statement released today. “but Oklahoma has not yet taken a position on expansion.”
That seems particularly odd considering it was Boren’s comments last year in support of Big 12 expansion that got the conference into this mess. He even set Twitter on fire by calling the conference “psychologically disadvantaged” without expansion. I don’t know about you, but there’s not a lot of room for misunderstanding what side of things he was on there.
So why the aloof response now? Simple, because it is as what has been reported. Boren secretly doesn’t want expansion. However, to say so now would put egg all over his face. So he says, “Oklahoma” hasn’t taken a position. Which, I guess technically they haven’t, but he’s the school’s president and the board chair of the conference, so…
And by his own admission last week, he’s not sure expansion is the answer.
“We’re going to look at every way in which we can make the conference stronger and better,” Boren said. “But I’m not sure the automatic answer to that is expansion.”
Which again, is a far cry from his comments a year ago when he seemed pretty sure that the conference had to expand to stay competitive.
So why the change of heart? As sources close to the situation have told us, Boren would rather forego expansion than to damage the conference’s relationship with its television partners since they can’t agree on BYU. Which, honestly I wouldn’t fault him for. In fact, that makes sense.
What doesn’t make sense is saying that Oklahoma hasn’t taken a position on expansion. We are 15 months into this charade with a Big 12 meeting looming in October, what are you waiting on?