NORMAN — By Chris Day
CNHI News Service
STILLWATER – Oklahoma State’s benefactor Boone Pickens doesn’t see the Big 12 existing if each conference member isn’t an equal.
Pickens discussed the Big 12’s status Saturday prior to Oklahoma State’s season opener with Louisiana-Lafayette in the stadium that bears his name.
Texas and its Longhorn Network have turned the conference into one financially fit athletic program and eight struggling ones, Pickens said.
“I don’t care who you are, one can’t beat eight. I don’t care how powerful you are. Texas needs to get it cleared up. All of us do. I want to get it fixed and stop talking about it. I don’t want it to come up again next year,” Pickens said.
Earlier Saturday, Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis said OSU was exploring its options, including remaining in an expanded Big 12. Hargis’ comment came after University of Oklahoma President David Boren said OU was being wooed by other conferences and could decide in as little as three days or as long as three weeks whether it will remain in the conference or leave.
“Oklahoma State University’s athletic program has never been stronger from top to bottom, putting us in a position to pursue options,” Hargis said.
Hargis also said Oklahoma State and Oklahoma officials are communicating and a decision will be made “soon that will be in the best interest of our institutions and the state of Oklahoma.”
Oklahomans stick together, Pickens said.
“We go together wherever we go. If you can’t fix the Big 12, you go West,” Pickens said.
The Oklahoma schools have three options – fix the Big 12, join the Big 10 or join the Pac-12, Pickens said. The Pac-12 is the best choice.
If the Big 12 fixes its equality problems, Pickens said he wants Texas Christian University as the league’s 10th team.
However, Pickens said he didn’t see any need to rush into a decision.
“Don’t rush the monkey and you will see a better show,” Pickens said.
“What I’m saying is be a little patient and we will see what happens. We don’t have to decide that this weekend.”