What a change 24 hours can make. Oklahoma president David Boren and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced the ‘Baker Mayfield rule’ has now been passed Thursday evening at the conference meetings in Irving, Texas.
The reason for the modification was because of the change in the language, which now means OU quarterback Baker Mayfield will be eligible to play for the Sooners in 2016 and 2017.
The vote Wednesday was 5-5. This time around, with the new language, it passed with a 7-3 vote. A simple majority was all that was necessary.
So what’s the change in the language?
The provision included Thursday was any non-recruited walk-on can transfer within the conference and not lose a year of eligibility as long as there was never a written offer from the original school.
Mayfield, who was initially a walk-on at Texas Tech, transferred to OU following the 2013 season. From all reports, the Red Raiders were going to put Mayfield on scholarship following the season, but there was never a written offer. It was said in interviews and perhaps verbally agreed upon but never actually written down.
“They were 5-5 and obviously there were mixed feeling with how it came out,” Bowlsby said. “Perhaps they hadn’t taken into consideration all components of it. It wasn’t a reconsideration, (it was an) adoption of a different proposal that had a narrower focus.”
Within seconds of the rule being passed that will allow him to play for the Sooners in the 2017 season, Mayfield voiced his approval of the measure on social media on Twitter:
Mayfield and OU head coach Bob Stoops were among notable people who wrote about how disappointing the first ruling was Wednesday.
“I think this was a very good action by the faculty athletic representatives,” Boren said. “I think also requiring written evidence of an offer of scholarship which, in the case of Baker Mayfield, there was no written offer at the time. I think that strengthens it because from an evidentiary point of view, the conference doesn’t want to get into a he said-she said or he said-he said sort of situation. So we want to have written evidence of the offer being made. I think that, procedurally, is very strong.”
Stoops' tone was obviously different Thursday.
"I appreciate the Big 12 faculty athletics representatives spending more time studying the important issue of walk-on transfers and am pleased by the result of today's Big 12 vote — not just because it potentially impacts Baker Mayfield, but because it was the right thing to do."
There is still the chance of Mayfield leaving OU after the 2016 season to enter the NFL Draft, but if he does indeed stay, it would lead to one of the strongest quarterback rooms in recent memory.
If Mayfield sticks with the Sooners for the 2017 season, he will be joined by Austin Kendall, Kyler Murray and potentially incoming freshman Chris Robison. Robison has been committed to the Sooners for nearly a full calendar year, while Murray will be eligible after sitting out the 2016 season.
“This shows once again the that the well-being of the student-athlete is a top level of concern,” Boren said.
Joe Castiglione said Wednesday he wasn't done trying to figure out a solution. Turns out his efforts were worth it.
"Our view at Oklahoma is that non-scholarship student-athletes should have the right to transfer without losing a year of eligibility. With that in mind, we are very pleased with the result of today's vote of Big 12 faculty athletics representatives," said Castiglione in a statement. "With student-athlete welfare always on the front of our minds, today's decision was the appropriate one. I'm appreciative of the willingness of conference colleagues to consider — and implement — change that could benefit walk-ons in the future."