Oil tycoon and Oklahoma State megabooster T. Boone Pickens told the Austin American-Statesman today that Oklahoma president David Boren “likes to talk” and “gets a little bit confused sometimes,” casting a strange new light on Big 12 expansion talks.
This casts into further confusion an already discombobulated Big 12 expansion story. Earlier today, Sports Illustrated and the Dallas Morning News independently reported that Boren was against the expansion of the Big 12, effectively killing any realistic chance of expanding the league at this point. Boren later said OU hadn’t taken a position on the matter.
Then here comes Pickens, suggesting Boren shouldn’t be taken seriously.
T. Boone Pickens said he likes the current 10-team Big 12 configuration the way it is and would prefer adding Houston and SMU if the league grows, but that’s “probably unlikely.” The Oklahoma State benefactor said on our “On Second Thought” podcast that Oklahoma president David Boren has been wishy-washy about expansion and that “maybe it’s time for David to retire.” Some outlets reported Tuesday that the mercurial Boren is saying he’s decided against expansion, but Boren clarified his stance, saying “Oklahoma has not yet taken a position on expansion.” Pickens, who has given $500 million to his alma mater, said, “I’ve known David forever. He likes to talk. He gets a little bit confused sometimes.” Pickens said he and Cowboys coach Mike Gundy aren’t talking. “I don’t have any conversations with Gundy,” he said. Is there a rift? “I don’t know, but Mike doesn’t handle people relationships very well. And he gets mad about things. I’ve heard he’s written some notes about me that weren’t very complimentary.”
This is of particular interest because of the tendency for in-state rivals to vote in kind on these matters. OU and OSU were believed to be no different.
From the Dallas Morning News this afternoon:
With Oklahoma now opposing expansion and likely to be joined in lockstep by Oklahoma State, the other eight schools are going to have to coalesce around two possible candidates, which seems unlikely at the moment.
That could still be the case, but Pickens has cast doubt not only on OU’s position on Big 12 expansion, but whether its president can even be considered a credible source on the matter.
Also, Mike Gundy might want to patch things up with his billionaire booster.