After a week of chaos across college sports, Oklahoma and Texas officially accepted invitations to the SEC on Friday morning. The timeline for when they make the move is up in the air. Contractually, they can’t leave until July 1st, 2025, which is when the Big 12’s media grants of rights comes to an end. However, there’s plenty of reason to believe these two schools, along with ESPN, will try to get out of the Big 12 prior to then.
And when that day does come, one of the great rivalries in the sport could come to an end: Beldam. Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State. Or Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma. Depends which side you are on.
OU President Joseph Harroz said at the meeting on Friday, “Make no mistake, we want the Bedlam rivalry to continue.”
Well, that’s great. But can you blame Oklahoma State if they pass on the offer, at least for a period of time? Sure the game brings in millions of dollars of economic stimulus to Stillwater on a single Saturday every other year, but this decision will go well beyond just that factor.
Oklahoma State has clearly been very unhappy with Oklahoma, as its long been considered that if any realignment took place, the two universities would go as a packaged deal to any other conference, as they almost did to the Pac-12 a decade ago.
Earlier this week, new Oklahoma State president Kayse Shrum released a statement tweaking OU, saying the Sooners “followed” the Longhorns to the SEC.
This came just a few days after Shrum’s first statements, saying on Twitter saying there was a, “lack of engagement and transparency from our colleagues at OU over the past months on a matter with serious ramifications for our state. We have historically worked together to advance our state and address issues based on a partnership built on trust.”
None of this is to say Bedlam won’t go away when Oklahoma leaves for the SEC. It’s great for the state of Oklahoma, both fan bases and the sport of college football, which is built on pageantry and rivalries. But despite Oklahoma saying they want the rivalry to continue, it takes two to tango, and Oklahoma State may feel too burnt right now to entertain that possibility. And can you blame them?