Mike Gundy doubts Bedlam’s rivalry will continue

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Oklahoma and Texas have made waves this summer by accepting invitations to join the Southeastern Conference.

After all 14 SEC presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to extend conference invitations to Oklahoma and Texas, it only took a day for the two universities to accept.

The Oklahoma and Texas boards of directors both voted unanimously to formally accept invitations to join the SEC on a Friday at the end of July.

The leaders of Oklahoma and Texas have both publicly stated that the universities intend to stay in the Big 12 conference until June 30, 2025, when the current Big 12 media rights agreement expires. . Still, many believe the release of both will come long before that.

One of the repercussions for Oklahoma is what will happen with their annual Bedlam rivalry game against Oklahoma State. At the Oklahoma board meeting where the Sooners officially accepted their invitation to join the SEC, OU president Joe Harroz addressed his and the university’s hope that Bedlam would continue.

“I also want to say this and I communicated that to the state of Oklahoma and it is that we want the Bedlam rivalry to continue well beyond the expiration of this media rights agreement.” . Don’t make mistakes. We want the Bedlam rivalry to continue. And make no mistake about it. Even with this change, we want to play Oklahoma State in all sports every year, ”Harroz said.

Harroz indicated that Oklahoma would have preferred the state of Oklahoma to join the SEC with the Sooners, but the scenery did not allow that to be a possibility.

“The next question is why not the state of Oklahoma? Why did you do this and not bring in Oklahoma State University? It’s a question we’ve thought about a lot since 2012. It was part of our thinking process and our conversation. We have analyzed this landscape in depth. Lots of conversations about how we do it. We’ve been looking for solutions to move forward together, but that’s just not what the market we’re chasing allows. It was true then and it is even more true today in this changed landscape, ”said Harroz.

Oklahoma State President Dr. Kayse Shrum responded to the Oklahoma board vote several days later on Twitter. On August 1, Shrum tweeted the following statement.

“Many have wondered about the future of Bedlam. We appreciate intensity and tradition every time we play OU in any sport. Right now, there are too many unknowns to determine what the future holds. Our athletic program is strong across the board and I have great respect for the dedication and hard work of our student-athletes in the classroom and for their sports. Rest assured that we will move forward with purpose, always upholding the principles we live by in the Cowboy Code and doing what is right, even when it is difficult. Go Pokes! Shrum said.

Now, with the 2021 Bedlam game upon us, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has been asked if he thinks the series against Oklahoma will continue.

“I don’t think it will. I don’t think there’s a commercial side to it that… I’m not making that decision. I guess Dr Shrum and Chad Weiberg, they could do whatever they wanted or the board. I don’t know who is involved in this. I don’t think it’s a realistic thing that this is happening based on the business side of power five conference football in the Big 12 or the SEC. This is only my opinion on it. I mean, I could be wrong and I’m not getting this from anyone. I’m just answering the question you asked me, ”Gundy said.

Gundy felt that the Cowboys’ existing non-conference engagements and an expanded Big 12 with BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF would mean the continuation of the Bedlam series is unlikely.

“So that’s 10 power-five conference [games], so if you want to come back into this game, you would be willing to play 11 in a 12 game season, which would be extremely difficult, ”Gundy said.

“And, from a business standpoint, we all know that. The more successes and matches you get in football, it is a huge source of income for your sports department and your university, because the more you win in football, the enrollment increases. It’s the fact. Marketing money is increasing. There is a huge amount of money involved in this. So would you say, if we’re running a business and you’re from a business standpoint, someone should make a decision. Do you want to risk some of that and how many other teams across the country that are competing to get into the bottom four are ready to play 11 conference games and only have one non-conference depending on the? amount of money that could stay there at the end? Whether you like it or not, I guess that’s what will happen.

Gundy noted that he had not been involved in discussions with Shrum and Weiberg, where either said Bedlam would not continue. However, it ultimately happens, count Gundy in the camp who is not in love with the change.

“Well, Berry [Tramel] can tell you that I am a traditionalist and that I did not like any of this. I didn’t like when the Big 12 broke when it did and Missouri and Nebraska left. Besides, I didn’t like any of that. I liked him as he was. I liked it. I thought the divisions were good. I just liked it, so, I mean, I’m not excited about any of it, but obviously it doesn’t make a difference what I think, ”Gundy said.

Oklahoma and the State of Oklahoma may be renewing Bedlam for the last time in Stillwater, at least in the near future, Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. on ABC.

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