Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield will only have one more year of eligibility with the Sooners after the ‘Baker Mayfield rule’ failed to pass Wednesday at the Big 12 conference summer meetings in Las Colinas, Texas.
Proposed by OU, the change would have waived the automatic forfeiture of a year of eligibility for non-recruited walk-ons that transfer within the conference.
The motion only needed a simple majority, but the vote was 5-5, meaning it was a mere one vote shy of being accepted.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said there were good points made by both sides.
“I think there was some apprehension about any walk-on at any of our schools being recruited by an offer of scholarship,” Bowlsby said.
He said the conference needed to be careful about unintended consequences and mentioned it’s a slippery slope.
OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said he was disappointed with the result and that he would keep fighting to try to convince other conference members to change their vote.
A key point, Castiglione said, is this does not just pertain to Mayfield.
“In all fairness to Baker, who has been a tremendous leader on our campus, he, too, realizes this is about an issue that is bigger than any one individual,” Castiglione said.
If nothing changes, the burning question is going to be where will Baker Mayfield be playing during the 2017 season. His time in Norman will be done, but he would have a couple of options.
No. 1, he could simply decide to enter the NFL Draft. After a fantastic 2015 season where Mayfield helped guide the Sooners to their first appearance in the college football playoff, Mayfield’s stock might be at an all-time high if he can equal or surpass those numbers in 2016.
No. 2, and this would be a major egg on the face moment for the Big 12 would be if Mayfield transferred to another conference to play one final season as a graduate transfer. This rule is only in place among the Big 12 so there would be no legal hoops to jump through. All Mayfield would have to do is become a graduate transfer at a school not in the Big 12 and be granted another season.
“That is certainly a possibility,” Castiglione said. “I don’t think that would make anybody feel better. We have tried to recognize and address a shortcoming with this particular rule. We will continue to work on convincing a few more.”
Bowlsby tried to explain the reasoning of the conference a little more as regards to luring walk-ons with scholarships and whether that’s a bad thing.
“I don’t think it’s a net negative,” Bowlsby said. “I think it makes for difficult relationships with conference members. The camaraderie among the coaching staffs, athletic directors is an important factor. Those things can get very messy in a hurry.”
Mayfield was originally a walk-on at Texas Tech before transferring to OU following the 2013 season. He completed 269 of 395 passes (68 percent) with 36 touchdowns and just seven interceptions in helping lead the Sooners to the Orange Bowl.
Mayfield shared his thoughts later in the evening on Twitter: