With Oklahoma State hosting Texas on Saturday, one of the media sources covering Texas that always likes to get an opinion from Oklahoma State University alumnus and donor Boone Pickens is the Austin American-Statesman. In a column by Kirk Bohls and a podcast available on the newspaper's website, Pickens spoke out on three topics that will draw attention.
The first is liable to rankle some feathers in the relationship between Oklahoma State and rival but often partner in both educational and Big 12 Conference concerns, the University of Oklahoma. When asked about current University of Oklahoma president and current Big 12 Chairman of the Board of Directors David Boren, Pickens suggested, "maybe it's time for David to retire" after a report surfaced Tuesday that Boren had changed his mind on the topic of Big 12 expansion.
Boren recently stated that he had not made his mind up and that it was not a certainty that the Big 12 would expand, despite having Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and his staff survey interested candidates about both their interest and validity as potential members of the conference. The process starting with a news conference after a board meeting in July in which both Boren and Bowlsby outlined their thoughts and the likely process of looking into candidates for the league's potential expansion.
"I've known David forever. He likes to talk. He gets a little bit confused sometimes," Pickens continued in his comments to the Statesman.
Boren clarified his opinion on conference expansion later Tuesday continuing with the theme that OU had yet to make a decision. "Oklahoma has not yet taken a position on expansion," Boren said.
It has been clear in recent years that Oklahoma State and Oklahoma have been in close and fairly constant contact over legislative matters in Oklahoma and issues dealing with the Big 12 Conference and athletic futures at both schools. Sources have told GoPokes.com that the two schools are aligned and wish to remain together in the same conference into the future, hopefully the Big 12, but in the same league regardless.
Pickens also went back to the subject of current Oklahoma State football head coach Mike Gundy. Before the opening game of the season on Sept. 3 in Stillwater, Pickens told several media members that he was still unhappy with Oklahoma State and Gundy's record in games with OU. He wants to be more competitive against the Sooners.
Some fans and media perceived Pickens' comments as a cheap shot directed at Gundy, who had no comment on Pickens' comments. However, it is fairly clear that the good spirits and feelings exhibited by the two and Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder following the 2014 win over Oklahoma have evaporated, at least between Pickens and Gundy.
Pickens said as much in his continued comments to the Statesman.
Pickens said of his relationship with Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, "he and I don't speak."
I don't know, but Mike doesn't handle people relationships very well," Pickens elaborated in the Austin newspaper's podcast. "And he gets mad about things. I've heard he's written some notes about me that weren't very complimentary."
I know for a fact from talking to Gundy following the Cowboys opening win over Southeastern Louisiana that he was surprised initially with hearing of the comments from Pickens, but then he said he almost as quickly dismissed them.