Weird stuff was going down in Norman on Monday as Max Weitzenhoffer, the 76-year-old theater producer who heads up the University of Oklahoma's board of regents, voiced concerns over OU president David Boren's politicking to reform the Big 12 in an interview with Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com.
Namely, Weitzenhoffer seems to have taken issue with the idea of expanding the league. For the last year, Boren has pestered the conference about its lean lineup of teams, the absence of a conference title game and a league-wide network. As Berry Tramel noted, Boren has made it clear that OU wants all three issues addressed at once. In fact, the entire reason to expand in the first place is that a conference needs 12 teams just to make sure the network has enough content to get off the ground.
That means Texas has to jump on board first, and the Longhorns are giving no indication that they're interested in sacrificing the Longhorn Network for a conference-wide venture. Therefore, any discussion of adding teams to the league represents an academic exercise as of now.
Nevertheless, the leaders of the Big 12 in their infinite wisdom opted to make a big show this year of tackling the expansion question. I guess you can't blame them for doing their due diligence, but the conference now has a leaked list of expansion candidates and no real reason to call any of them. Expanding without a conference network in play wouldn't meet Boren's demands, making it a moot point.
Boren started his reform campaign during a meeting with the regents in 2015, so I can't imagine the topic hadn't been discussed with them beforehand. That's what made Monday's events so strange.
Given Weitzenhoffer's qualms about the possibility of the Big 12 expanding, it sounds as though he and the rest of the board might just want OU to leave the conference, as opposed to working to fortify it. Plenty have speculated that's Boren's endgame, too, despite his stated intentions.
By the end of the day, they were reading from the same script. Contrary to the theatrical chairman's comments, it's likely that they're on the exact same page.