June 15, 2010
STILLWATER, Okla. - Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder met with members of the media Tuesday to discuss OSU staying in the Big 12. Following are some of the highlights of what he said:
"Here we are with the prospects for a bright future for Stillwater, Oklahoma and the Big 12 Conference. I couldn't be happier about that. I think the agreement that was reached and the consensus for all the schools that are left in the conference to stick together and work toward a brighter future, I think that's a win for our fans, a win for our coaches and a win for all of our athletes.
"I say that because of the geographic location of all the institutions involved. Every school is within driving distance from another. Long-time friendships, long-time rivalries I think are what makes college athletics special so I'm glad we're going to continue that and not turn our backs on, in some cases, over 70 and 80 years of tradition.
"I'd like to commend the hard work put in by Dan Beebe, our commissioner, to make this happen. It looked pretty bleak at various times, but he was able to finally get the deal done.
"I also appreciate our friendship with the University of Texas and especially the University of Oklahoma. Through this process, I think that it was very clearly stated by David Boren and Joe Castiglione that wherever Oklahoma went, Oklahoma State was going to be there with them. We had exactly the same feeling about them. This whole process has brought both institutions closer together, and I really appreciate their friendship.
"I don't know everything that's going to happen in the future. I do know there are some possibilities as far as scheduling that I really like. One thing that our head coach Mike Gundy has stumped for and I'm a big believer in is to play all the conference teams, and I think that's a real possibility since we only have nine other members in the conference now. It's exciting to think that we can play every one of those other institutions every year in football, play them twice in men's and women's basketball.
On the possibility of an Oklahoma State network:
"When you're talking about an individual university, your market is significantly smaller. Even if you're the University of Texas and there are a lot of people nationwide who follow that particular brand, it's still tough to make a go of it. If you're Oklahoma State with a smaller enrollment, a smaller population base in the state, no major metropolitan areas, it's going to be much more difficult to make a go of it. We'll probably be more interested in doing things on our web site and some live streaming things."
On weighing his options during the process:
"I would not say there was any one moment in time where we were going to go one way or the other. I was torn basically every day. One minute, you think you're going to the West Coast, and another, you think you're staying home. Every time you thought you were going a different direction, you looked behind you and saw all the good reasons to stay and all the good reasons to go."
On having good options to choose from:
"We were very fortunate to have options. This was all predicated on football and the attractiveness of football and part of the reason we had options was the success of the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma in football. Oklahoma made it very obvious that they weren't going anywhere without us and we said exactly the same thing. OU's success definitely didn't hurt us throughout this whole process."
On what triggered the whole process:
"The first salvo was fired by the Big Ten Conference and Jim Delany when they said they were going to explore options for expansion. That started a lot of the thinking process. Then you can pick a domino, whatever the next domino was to fall because of that. Hopefully, in the best interest of college athletics, what happened in the Big 12 and us solidifying what we've got will slow down this expansion and consolidation of conferences. I can't say that it's a bad thing to have bigger conferences, I just know that I'm concerned about it.
"If you're in the Big 12 Conference, you're going to have a great shot at winning the national championship in football or in basketball. How do we know that? Just look in the rearview mirror. If you're an athlete out there and you have big dreams athletically, they can come true in the Big 12 Conference and you can play close to home as most of our athletes come from this area. That's good for everybody and I like that going forward."
On any assurances OSU may have gotten from other schools regarding keeping the Big 12 together:
"Right now, what we have is everyone on the record saying they're committed to the Big 12 Conference. What will happen in the next few weeks or months is to put teeth into that and make sure that there are significant penalties or significant language in our contract that makes it difficult to leave. I know that I would support that."
On possible frayed relationships among the schools in the league:
"I feel much better about our relationship with Oklahoma through this process. I can say the same about our relationship with the University of Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M. I feel real good that we're going to keep our brothers to the north in Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri and then I feel good about Baylor. We've got a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to."
On the Big 12's place in TV negotiations:
"There's a lot of value in this conference and that will be reflected in the next round of revenue negotiations with television. I think we'll be the beneficiaries of the timing of this next contract. I think we'll close the gap that currently exists between us and the SEC. I can't really say anything about the Big Ten Network because that's a whole different dynamic. Who knows what that's going to be? We know that the SEC contract is fixed for the next 15 years. That's a finite number. We don't know what the Big Ten Network is going to be worth. Relative to our peers in college athletics, the Big 12 is not going to be disadvantaged financially and our coaches and athletes will have the resources that it takes to compete on the national level. That's really what's important."
On how the final resolution seemed to come about so quickly:
"Every one of the athletic directors that had an opportunity to go to the Pac-10 was on record saying their preference was to stay in the Big 12. I think they were just looking for enough compelling reasons to stay more than the reasons to go. Everyone felt comfortable with what was here and the decision really made itself at the end of the day."
On if he sees the Big 12 staying with 10 schools or expanding:
"This is just my opinion. I'm very, very comfortable with 10 and that would be my preference. I really don't see anyone in this area that would add, you'd have to say to add another member, they'd have to bring $15 million worth of value to the table. Otherwise, you're going to take less revenue if you're one of the 10 schools remaining. You're going to have to take a revenue cut to allow them into the conference. I don't think right now that there is anyone who brings that kind of value. Then you would complicate matters with 11 schools because you'd have to play 10 conference games and only get two non-conference games. A lot of people want to see those non-conference matchups.
"I really believe this gives our conference champion a better chance to advance to the BCS Championship Game. It's just one less game that you have to play. I think that's better for your athletes and coaches for your opportunity for injuries. When you get that late in the season and you have the good fortune to have the No. 1-ranked team, you don't want to expose them to a loss in a game that you don't have to play. I have been a proponent of not playing the championship game ever since I became athletic director here.
"I know that our conference football coaches are unanimous in support of not playing that championship game, so I guess in the end, they won out in this."
On the schools that received offers to join the Pac-10:
"We had an offer and the offer was based on everyone agreeing to move. I don't think Texas was going anywhere without Oklahoma and Oklahoma wasn't going anywhere without Oklahoma State and Oklahoma State wasn't going anywhere without those schools because who wants to be the orphan? If one school made the move to the Pac-10, this is a long way and if you're the lone stranger out here in the middle of the United States and all your competitors in your conference are on the West Coast, it's not once or twice a year that you're going to make that road trip, it's five or six times a year in football. That's one of the reasons that the plan came together as it did. You want to have some people to play in your natural area then maybe go to the West Coast, but you don't want to make those trips on a regular basis, especially in basketball."