Oklahoma president designate James Gallogly knows he could eventually have some big decisions to make regarding conference realignment and expansion.
Gallogly was introduced as the replacement for current Oklahoma president David Boren, formerly one of the biggest proponents of Big 12 expansion, on Monday. That means he’ll have a major role in the direction of Oklahoma athletics and the Big 12 going forward. Gallogly told the Tulsa World’s Cody Stavenhagen that he’ll seek advice from Boren and others when he faces those decisions.
“We’ll be heavily involved with that, because the Big 12 is an important part of our university,” Gallogly said when asked about realignment. “I have a lot of people to talk to to get their perspectives on these issues. David will be one of the very first ones that I do talk to. It’s an important part of how we bring funding to the University of Oklahoma. We are going to continue to be great at our athletics, but also our academics.”
Boren vocally supported Big 12 expansion in the past, saying the league was “psychologically disadvantaged” with only 10 teams. However, he ran into opposition from the Oklahoma Board of Regents when the conference was considering expansion in 2016. The conference eventually decided to stick with 10 members.
The more likely issue Gallogly will have to navigate will be Oklahoma’s future conference affiliation. Boren always left open the possibility of Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 for another conference.
“I think it’s very important for us to always have the possibility of making a move if we want to,” Boren told The Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson in May 2017.
There doesn’t seem to be as much of a perceived need for Oklahoma to explore other options now that the football team has reached the College Football Playoff twice in the past three years as a member of the Big 12. However, the decision on Oklahoma’s long-term conference affiliation will likely fall to Gallogly when the Big 12 grant of rights expires in 2025. The Sooners have often been connected with the SEC in realignment rumors.
Gallogly will officially take over for Boren in July. The rest of the Big 12 will be watching Gallogly closely to see what he thinks about Oklahoma’s future in the conference, and whether Boren has an influence on his successor in that regard.