Univ. of Oklahoma President David Boren yesterday announced that he will "step down from his post" effective June 30, 2018, after nearly 23 years, according to Spenser Davis of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Boren’s accomplishments at OU "can not be overstated." Since taking office in '94, Boren "led OU through athletic and academic revivals." In '98, Boren hired Joe Castiglione as AD. Boren oversaw "multiple rounds of renovations to Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and helped create Headington Hall, OU’s student-athlete dorm." He was also a "key figure in college football’s recent rounds of realignment" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/21). ESPN.com's Jake Trotter wrote Boren was at the "heart of the Big 12's expansion push, which quickly fizzled after the league announced it would explore expansion" in July '16. The search to replace Boren will be "conducted by the OU Board of Regents," currently led by Thunder Chair Clay Bennett (ESPN.com, 9/20). In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel writes OU is a "difference place, a better place," because of Boren. Tramel: "And you can say the same thing about the athletic department." Boren has "sent mixed signals across the Big 12," and in some ways, he "did the same" yesterday. Boren said of the Big 12's future, "If it's able to flourish and have good athletic records ... it's doing well very well financially, within striking distance of any conference, ahead of two or three of the other Power 5 conferences" (OKLAHOMAN, 9/21).
LASTING IMPACT: In Dallas, Chuck Carlton notes Boren yesterday "didn't drop any hints about conference realignment or the Big 12 being 'psychologically disadvantaged' by its 10 members or expansion -- the greatest hits from the last few years." By sheer length of term, by profile and by personality, Boren's departure "will leave a major void" at OU and in the Big 12 -- "for better or worse." Boren "stepped into the hole left by the forced retirement" of former Texas AD DeLoss Dodds and did his "best to shape the Big 12 agenda." He "pushed for the return of a conference title game." Boren took shots at UT's Longhorn Network and "pushed the Big 12 to look at a conference-wide network." One theory yesterday suggested that Boren's departure "might strengthen the Big 12 by removing speculation and rumors coming from one of the league's most powerful presidents" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/21).
BOOMING VOICE: USA TODAY's George Schroeder writes over the last decade, Boren "absolutely was one of the loudest voices in college sports." But especially when it came to the Big 12, he has also been "one of the most important influencers." His real legacy might have been the "unusually enduring three-way relationship between a university president, athletic director and football coach." Until OU football coach Bob Stoops’ retirement in June, Boren, Castiglione and Stoops "formed a power troika that appeared mostly cohesive and lasted far longer than most in college athletics." With Boren's departure, OU is "losing its most influential advocate, and college athletics is losing a very loud influencer." Whether it was "shrewd use of a bully pulpit or just a guy with a bullhorn, Boren was always heard" (USA TODAY, 9/21). THE ATHLETIC's David Ubben wrote during the Big 12's "six-year dalliance with extinction, expansion, possible extinction and then a half-hearted exploration of expansion again, Boren emerged as the Big 12's loudest voice." Whoever replaces Boren will have a "pressing decision as the Big 12 inches closer to an unpredictable negotiation of its television rights in a media landscape no one in sports fully understands." His replacement "could shape the future of college sports" (THEATHLETIC.com, 9/20).
TWITTER REAX: The San Antonio Express-News' Mike Finger tweeted, "No one in the absurd history of the Big 12's expansion/contraction/realignment saga provided more fodder than David Boren. He'll be missed." Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel: "Thx for all the wild realignment/BCS quotes thru the years. You were a gift to college football writers." The Oklahoman's Brooke Pryor noted, "Bob and Carol Stoops and Joe Castiglione and his wife are on the front row for David Boren’s announcement." Rivals.com's Eddie Radosevich joked, "Biggest reason I'm not live tweeting David Boren presser is b/c most words he uses I would be forced to look up before attempting to spell."