STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis told CBSSports.com Thursday his school is focused on remaining in the Big 12. However, he would not speculate on the Cowboys’ future if Texas A&M leaves the league.
“I think [the Big 12] can exist,” Hargis said. “I don’t think it’s a fait accompli A&M is gone. Obviously the SEC had a string on their bid.”
Hargis said if Texas A&M leaves, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are “not necessarily” headed to the Pac-12. “That’s a hypothetical, but we want 10 teams [in the Big 12].”
What could push the Sooners and Cowboys to the Pac-12?
“At this point, we’re focused on the Big 12 going forward,” Hargis said before Oklahoma State’s game with, ironically, Pac-12 member Arizona. “I wouldn’t want to get into [the possibility of the Pac-12]. That’s a hypothetical and a hypothetical. It’s just not anything we’re real focused on right now.”
An Oklahoma State source told CBSSports.com that OSU would not sue Texas A&M or the SEC if Texas A&M left.
Since Texas A&M announced it was leaving the Big 12, Baylor President Ken Starr threatened to sue the SEC and Commissioner Mike Slive for tortious interference. The SEC released a statement before Starr's threat. It read in part:
“After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on Sept. 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC. We were notified [Tuesday] afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action.”
Hargis said he didn’t believe the SEC thought the conference could waive the rights of the individual institutions.
“Only the regents can waive [legal] claims of the university,” Hargis said. “The conference can’t do it, the presidents can’t do it. I think as far as conference was concerned there was no intention to take any action.”
Hargis said he wasn’t aware of a timetable when this all gets resolved. Oklahoma President David Boren estimated it would take less than three weeks.“We’d all like to resolve it that fast but I don’t know a timetable,” Hargis said. “There’s no big rush. Everyone has to work through and get their conditions on the table and move forward.
“We have 10 really good schools. We had a close call with A&M. All of us wanted them to stay. The only ones that didn’t want them to stay was A&M, which is kind of a critical point. But hopefully maybe this event will give everyone time to take a deep breath.”