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Oklahoma might have a change of heart on Big 12 expansion

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Just a few months have passed since the Big 12 president’s voted to explore expansion to at least 12 members. However, it appears that one major player may have a big change of heart — the Oklahoma Sooners.

A report in Sports Illustrated indicates the Sooners are having second thoughts on the expansion of the league and may be set to vote ‘no’ on expansion when the final votes come down.

Oklahoma president David Boren was once one of the biggest proponents of expansion, noting a “psychological disadvantage of being a smaller conference.” However, internal pressure from the Oklahoma board of regents may be rearing its ugly head.

That would explain why Boren was recently quoted as saying expansion was “not a sure thing.”

According to the SI report:

Fittingly, it appears Boren’s damaging comments to the Big 12 came in part because he has trouble in his own backyard. Oklahoma’s Board of Regents is not in favor of Big 12 expansion, and it appears to be putting an increasing amount of pressure on Boren to convey that message. This could seriously gum up the league’s expansion plans.

Boren also seems to have caved in to pressure on his favored expansion candidate — BYU. Much has been made about the honor code at the private Mormon university, one that states “homosexual activity” as against the code and punishable by dismissal from the school. Given the Mormon belief that homosexuality is a sin, how anyone would be shocked to see this played out in a religious university setting is a bit troublesome.

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But, back to the affects on Boren’s seeming reversal of feeling on expansion.

It is only natural that in a league with two big names (Oklahoma and Texas), those two would hold a lot of weight in what happens within the conference. So when Boren speaks, people tend to listen.

However, in this case there are some ticked off people over Boren’s public comments.

“It was almost like he was trying to get his name in the paper,” said a source close to Big 12 realignment to SI. “It was like he was trying to run for election. We all shook our heads—What the hell is he doing?”

The Big 12 board of directors is scheduled to meet Oct. 17 to discuss expansion, and it may be Oklahoma, and not Texas, that stands in the way of a unanimous voice on expansion. If that is the case, it is unlikely the league will actually expand.

Here we go on another winding path on the never-ending road that has been college sports expansion over the past decade-plus.

[Sports Illustrated]

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