Monday, June 14, 2010

Little Brother Syndrome

I've seen some items this week discussing whether OU is playing "little brother" to Texas in following them in their conference decision. First of all, OU is a national brand on the level of Nebraska or Texas already. They don't have to follow someone around to be relevant. We were quite relevant for 40 years while not being the same conference, and struggled to win six national championships without benefitting from joint conference affiliation.

Nonetheless, I do believe there are some benefits to joining conferences with Texas.

1) Tradition: OU has played Texas every year since 1929, and 104 times since 1900. To keep the series going, it's best if OU is in the same division of the same conference as Texas. That way we don't have to schedule a perennial top 10 program on a non conference game every year. You'd hate to lose a match with Utah State, or Idaho State, and exchange it for Texas.

2) Exposure: the exposure OU gets in Texas for it's annual series is invaluable. I'm sure some economist could quantify it, but it would be difficult to replace the media coverage in the Dallas Morning News, for example, if OU was not a division for of Texas. During the college football season, there's some note or comment every day. During OU-Texas week, there's a front page article every day. That exposure is a tremendous help in recruiting. As for the all important television, I've watched every game I've wanted to on TV in Dallas for the last several years, either via Fox, Versus or ABC/ESPN. Telling Texas parents they can watch their son play every week is a tremendous help in recruiting.

3) Money: At OU, you must accumulate a certain amount of Sooner points to purchase OU-Texas tickets. You accumulate points by many ways, but the most significant way is money. Being a season ticket holder for 20 years doesn't get me much, but 20 years of tickets plus about $200 gets me in the stadium. Many people donate just to make sure they qualify for OU-Texas tickets. Furthermore, and probably more significantly, some of the more prosperous season ticket holders with actual good seats along the sidelines sell their OU-Texas tickets to pay for their donation to the Sooner club and effectively fund their priority points.

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