Bedlam no more: Athletic Directors cite scheduling as reason for lost rivalry game

·3 min read

The announcement of Oklahoma’s future move to the SEC sent shockwaves throughout college football. From a local perspective, it not only surprised Oklahomans but created a sense of animosity from the Sooners’ in-state rival, Oklahoma State.

In the aftermath of Oklahoma’s acceptance into the SEC, Oklahoma State President Kayse Shrum shared her thoughts on the move.

We are disappointed by the 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. To that end, we will continue to work with purpose to the advancement of our state and the betterment of our fellow Oklahomans. In the ever-changing college athletic landscape, we will honor our values and ethics as we consider the next steps. Our commitment to our student-athletes is top of mind, and their best interests will be represented prominently. We enjoy a proud athletic heritage with more national championships than any other Big 12 university, and we will aggressively pursue the opportunities ahead. Additionally, our university enjoys a great brand known for education, research, and service, and we will move forward with strength. — Shrum

No mincing words there with her thoughts on the University of Oklahoma. Mike Gundy didn’t hold back either when asked about the future of Bedlam.

I don’t think it will. I just don’t think there’s a business side of it that…I don’t make that decision. I guess Dr. Shrum and Chad Weiberg, they could do whatever they wanted or the board. I don’t know who’s involved in this. I don’t think it’s a realistic thing that it’s going to happen based on the business side of power-five conference football in the Big 12 or the SEC. That’s just my opinion on it. – Gundy

We’ve known Oklahoma State’s thoughts on the matter for some time. OU President Joseph Harroz and Athletic Director Joe Castiglione have maintained that they’d like the game to continue. According to Brett McMurphy of Action Sports, the two sides don’t see a way forward for Bedlam due to scheduling.

McMurphy spoke with the athletic directors of both schools. Chad Weiberg of Oklahoma State and Castiglione of Oklahoma. Oklahoma State’s lack of interest, combined with the reality that nonconference scheduling is planned out so far ahead that both schools are pretty well full, makes it challenging to see a path forward for Bedlam in the next decade.

Oklahoma has planned home and home matchups with SMU, Michigan, Nebraska, and Clemson. Oklahoma State has Arizona State, Arkansas, Nebraska, Alabama, Oregon, and Colorado on the books for future nonconference matchups.

According to McMurphy, OU and OSU prefer to schedule just one Power Five opponent in nonconference. So that provides little room for Bedlam.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will lock up in mid-November in a game that will have Big 12 title and College Football Playoff implications. It could also be the last Bedlam game for the foreseeable future. While the move to the SEC isn’t expected until 2025, there’s a chance it could come earlier if OU and Texas are willing to pay the price.

While the SEC is exciting, it is a shame that Bedlams won’t be a part of the regular schedule. Hopefully, a time comes when the two schools can come together and make the game happen. It may be a lopsided rivalry, but it’s one that means a lot for both schools and for the state of Oklahoma.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire