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Big 12 directs fury at Oklahoma, Texas through officiating

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

College football is changing, with the new climate that includes NIL, the transfer portal, and conference realignment. The paradigm shifted big time when the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns decided to take their ball, leave the Big 12, and head off to the greener pastures of the SEC.

The move was all too obvious for the kingpins who came together to form, and keep the conference alive, after the movement in 2012.

Those programs were sharing their revenue with schools who were not generating their fair share, as they watched Texas A&M become a financial juggernaut with a new logo stitched to their chest.


The estimates for revenue increases look to be between $30-50 million annually, so the move had to happen, but that doesn't mean it was taken well by the members that remained in the Big 12. Kayse Shrum, president of Oklahoma State let her displeasure be known;

"We are disappointed by the lack of engagement and transparency from our colleagues at OU over the past months on a matter with serious ramifications for our state, "We have historically worked together to advance our state and address issues based on a partnership built on trust."

Linda Livingston, the President of Baylor also shared her perspective,

“This period of uncertainty has been ongoing for many months, but was intensely magnified yesterday as the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma regrettably informed the Big 12 Conference that the schools will not extend their media rights past 2025, which is when the league’s current television contracts end. And then today, Texas and Oklahoma formally requested membership in the Southeastern Conference,”


The Big 12 openly roots against OU and Texas

To put it lightly, the Big 12's remaining members were and still are as my six-year-old son would put it"big mad". The comments of the Universities, however, pale in comparison to the frustrations, and shots taken by the current leadership of the conference. Big 12 Deputy Director Tim Weiser said this during the 2023 Big 12 media days;

“I think their (decision) was more about affiliating with a group of schools…they would rather get beat by Alabama than Kansas State. Or Florida than Iowa State."

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yorkmark let it be known quickly he would be rooting against the Longhorns in a Big 12 contest this season.

The lack of professionalism is alarming, particularly being the head of a Power-Five conference you need to show yourself as objective, and both Weiser and Yormark reveal to everyone there is a true disdain for the Sooners and Longhorns among those within the walls of the league office. The question is, are they carrying that bias into sporting events where they commission the officials who judge the contests? Many would argue; yes.


Oklahoma and Texas have suffered at the hands of Big 12 officiating frequently since 2021

It has been ugly for the Red River duo in contests against their fellow Big 12 members, and while examples can be spread across multiple sports, the exploration of football contests is what we are going to be working with today. The volume of examples is quite large and we will confine ourselves to a couple per team

2021 Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

Remembered more for it being Lincoln Riley's last game at Oklahoma, this was an enormous Big 12 season finale. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma shared an identical 10-1 record and both had hopes to head to the College Football Playoff.

The Cowboys had already clinched a spot in the big game, the Sooners on the other hand having lost to Baylor needed a win to head to Arlington. This is a tight football game, one that Oklahoma State ended up winning 37-33. There were several controversial moments in the game from an officiating standpoint. Let's start in the 3rd quarter, when Oklahoma RB Kennedy Brooks was held up and called for forward progress, when well after the whistle an Oklahoma State defender picked up and threw him to the turf. The officials immediately and swiftly threw a flag, just to pick it up. The Sooners would wind up punting on that particular drive.

The most egregious call however came when Freshman QB Caleb Williams got the ball down to the Oklahoma State 24-yard line. The young gunslinger found an open Trevon West, he was clearly interfered with, but the call wasn't made.

This is obviously an egregious officiating error on this play, on the following play Caleb Williams was sacked and the game came to a close.


Oklahoma at Texas Tech 2022

Like most games in Lubbock, this one was bizarre, the officiating followed that trend. The most obvious issue from this game was the absurd amount of times that Oklahoma would appear to make the line to gain, only to be "just short" according to the officials. This happened three times in this contest, which went to double overtime, with Texas Tech winning.

However, the most bizarre moment? That has to be the made-field goal that was deemed NO GOOD. That is correct, you read that right, in Oklahoma's 51-48 loss to Texas Tech in 2OT, Zach Schmit made a 35-yard field goal, that was called no good.

The Twitter world reacted in shock, Zach Schmit reacted in shock, and the Oklahoma football team & their head coach reacted in shock. The officials informed Brent Venables the play wasn't reviewable. However, field goal attempts are reviewable they simply chose not to go to replay.

Baffled, the Sooners fell to 6-6, and would ultimately have their first losing season in a quarter century after a loss to Florida State in the Cheez-It-Bowl.


Oklahoma at Oklahoma State 2023

This previous weekend, the Bedlam rivalry came to a close for the foreseeable future, as the two sides do not have any matchups scheduled at this time. The two sides once again traded blows and Oklahoma State ended up winning 27-24.

A loss, that much like the last trip to Stillwater would knock the Sooners out of the College Football Playoff race, and likely out of the Big 12 Championship as well.

This game was marred by poor officiating, after halftime Oklahoma's defense appeared to adjust, and the Cowboys could not seem to get points on the board, no matter how they tried.

That is until, one of the worst defensive pass interference calls I had ever seen was called, on what was a 3rd & 5 failed conversion from the OSU 8-yard line.

Freshman CB Makari Vickers gets his leverage and plays it pretty well as the Oklahoma State wide receiver attempts to regain his leverage he contacts Vickers, but puts their hands on the other, and Vickers is thrown to the ground.

A flag is thrown, and Vickers celebrates and the sideline pumps their fist because an offensive pass interference is surely coming, but it did not. To the dismay of head coach Brent Venables, it was called on Vickers.

Venables comes off the sideline to protest, and the official with no warning whatsoever whips out his flag to tack another 15 on. Oklahoma State had no momentum at the time and was handed 30 free yards when they should have been punting, the Cowboys would continue this drive aided by a missed block-in-the-back penalty. I asked a college official his thoughts on the two penalties.

"You do not call that DPI in any world, if there is a penalty to call there its on the push-off for the offense. Oklahoma got absolutely jobbed there. As for the penalty on BV, technically they can call it, but shoot I cannot remember a call like that on a coach in like 15-20 years. We just don't do that, we warn them to get back. He pulled the flag so quickly, I was surprised."

Venables had been called for a similar penalty the week prior in Lawrence, which resulted in 30 yards of penalties and a Kansas touchdown, it 'bit' Oklahoma in consecutive weeks. However, he was not wrong, the penalty is uncommon, and it's rarely if ever called, it wasn't on Mike Gundy in the same contest.

These calls were enormous because Oklahoma State was struggling on offense, their only other points came directly after this drive, where the Sooners had a bad snap, Oklahoma State recovered in field goal range and kicked after three plays.

Even if the Sooners still fumble, on their next offensive snap it would've likely taken place in Oklahoma State territory. This is a 7-10 point swing in favor of the Cowboys handed to them by officiating malpractice.

However, perhaps nothing compares to this, perhaps the worst missed DPI in the history of college football? The Sooners would have had the opportunity to regain the lead with a 1st & Goal at the 3-yard line. Instead, the Sooners cut the lead to three on a field goal attempt.

Now, that one is tough to swallow, particularly with the view that shows the official is staring right at the play. This isn't a 50/50 call, or easy to miss, this is a concession. Drake Stoops won, and the defensive back chose to give up a penalty instead of a score. Instead, he got neither. The kicker? Drake Stoops actually caught the football and the officials chose not to even review it. Stoops was out of bounds, but that is simply odd behavior to not see a review on such a key play.

There are countless other examples over the course of the last three seasons for the Sooners the point is made however with the three chosen. OU has largely been able to overcome officiating in other Big 12 contests, they were not so fortunate in this one.


Alabama at Texas 2022

This is technically not a Big 12 game, but we already know what Tim Weiser had to say about the move, certainly, they were not rooting for the Longhorns to gain big momentum with an upset win of reigning Heisman Trophy Winner Bryce Young. The Big 12 crew did nearly as much damage to the Longhorn's chances of victory as the injury to Quinn Ewers did. This was an absolutely brutal day for Texas when it came to the zebras, the Longhorns fell to the Tide 19-17. On the Crimson Tide's game-winning drive, Texas had Bryce Young dead to rites for a sack when one of the worst no-call holds was called, with an official staring right at the action.

That is quite an obvious miss to anyone who isn't a Big 12 official. There was also a missed facemask that could have extended an earlier Texas drive. However, the most confusing, absurd, and crazy play I have seen in some time takes place earlier in the contest.

Alright, so there is A LOT going on here and I am going to help walk you through. Bryce Young is ruled down for a safety, and Texas DT Sweat is called for roughing the passer (yes on a sack) and targeting. The play then goes to video review.

They remove targeting and roughing the passer. (In college officials can correct an obvious mistake if they happen to be reviewing a play for another reason. Yes, I know that it's tough to follow, but hey maybe that's why they didn't review Drake Stoops' catch or no catch in Bedlam.) The officials then overturned a safety, saying Bryce got the ball off, but did not add intentional grounding (which would have resulted in a safety).

Here is the issue, Bryce Young was absolutely down, and his shin, and wrist were on the turf before he threw the ball, he was down and to be so certain he wasn't to overturn it, is crazy. Here is the shot of Bryce's shin prior to his pass:

This is flat-out disgusting, not much more can be said.


Texas at Oklahoma State 2022

This might be the most obvious evidence of officiating malpractice I have witnessed in my 30 years of life on this planet. Oklahoma State appears to be the darling that favors the most from this. In this game, Texas was flagged 14 times for 119 yards. Oklahoma State on the other hand was penalized, 0 times throughout the entire football game. Texas came into the game ranked #20 in the country, and Oklahoma State was #11. The winner would get the inside path to the Big 12 Championship game. The Cowboys won 41-34.

This loss would end up proving to be the difference between the Longhorns making it to Arlington, as they would wind up finishing third in the league. There were several calls that went against Texas that would blow your mind, and the Cowboys did not commit a penalty because they were simply disciplined that given Saturday. Late in the 4th quarter trailing 41-34, Quinn Ewers scampered for a 33-yard gain, setting up a first down with under two minutes remaining at the Cowboys' 35. But OT Christian Jones was called for a holding penalty, which turned out to just be a textbook pancake block, and instead, Quinn Ewers a few plays later on 4th and long would throw an interception. Oklahoma State was fortunate to get away with several pass-interferences, and holding of its own. You cannot have a penalty discrepancy that wide organically.


Kansas State at Texas 2023

Texas was able to overcome quite a lot of officiating malpractice to hold on to win this football game. The Longhorns did jump out to a quick 17-point advantage, and it's a good thing they did otherwise they would not have survived. Texas wideouts spent much of the game getting tackled or held with no flag coming out. Let's start with this one. Xavier Worthy gets behind the defense, should be an easy completion except Kansas State tackles Worthy, and gets away with it.

How about the time when an official yelled at a Texas player because he said recovered a fumble "NO!" The officials refused to review the play, and Sarkisian then had to call a timeout to get the review. The officials took a long time to finally award the obvious fumble to Texas.

Worthy was interfered with late as well, in what could have been an opportunity for Texas to seal the game prior to it going to overtime.


Stats for Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12 pertaining to penalties

Let's start with 2023 numbers. Texas opponent's yardage in penalties average is by far 14th out of 14 teams in the Big 12 with just 33.4 yards per game. Oklahoma is called for the most penalties per game in the Big 12 at 7.1 per game.

In 2022 Oklahoma and Texas led the Big 12 in TFLs, and Texas led the Big 12 in pressure rate. Yet, combined offensive linemen were called for three holds total in Big 12 play.

The above examples are just a small sample of what Oklahoma and Texas have had to endure even in wins, whether it be Houston being called for only one penalty or an illegal man downfield leading to a long UCF touchdown, the Sooners and Longhorns have endured hell, and 2024 cannot get here fast enough.

Will the Big 12 cost Texas an opportunity at the College Football Playoff like they did the Sooners twice? If the trend continues, they will certainly try. If officiating leads to a Texas loss, will the Red River Schools fund an investigation into malpractice? Ultimately we are seeing officials become worse and worse throughout sports.

Is this simply a situation where OU and Texas have been victims of human error, or is there a deeper and more elaborate rouse being played? We reached out to the Big 12 Conference, and they chose not to comment.

Tim Bailey is an Exectuive Vice-President of College Football Dawgs and the host of the Tim Bailey Show.

10 hozzászólás

Danny Webb
Danny Webb
2023. nov. 13.

There will never be an investigation (fox guarding the henhouse), no one would be dumb enough to put anything in writing to culpability with the refs and Big 12 leadership. That being said, not a fan of the SEC, not a fan of leaving the Big 12, but, not a fan of what has been done the last 2 seasons.

A friend of mine, recently related a conversation she has with a friend of her husband. Her husband who is a high school ref, told her the "talk" is that the refs were paying back the Sooners and Horns for leaving the Big 12. Like I said, will never be proven, but one just has to objectively watch the games…


Grady Belyeu
Grady Belyeu
2023. nov. 13.

Great read and we see this. Not a good look for the Big 12 and especially for the Commissioner. There should be an investigation because people bet money on these games and revenue to the schools are involved due to Bowl games, Conference Championship games and the playoffs. Sports can only be played if there is confidence that the system is fair and not slanted. Under these conditions, no blue blood school should feel confident of fairness when playing a Big 12 school with Big 12 officials in the future and therefore, should never book any of them as a non-conference opponent.


Antarctic Poison
Antarctic Poison
2023. nov. 11.

I mean the audacity of this article. You are delusional.


Thomas Collins
Thomas Collins
2023. nov. 19.
Válasz címzettje:

Wait, what did I miss other than the questionable offensive PI call? Looked like a typical Big 12 incompetent official. Did you watch the 2015 Texas vs. Oklahoma State game?


Antarctic Poison
Antarctic Poison
2023. nov. 11.

Do I need to remind you of the years of favorable calls oklahoma and texas got against inferior opponents such as Kansas? JFC. Hillarious.

Thomas Collins
Thomas Collins
2023. nov. 19.
Válasz címzettje:

Like these "favorable" calls Texas got vs. OSU when we weren't even leaving the conference yet?


Richard Waresback
Richard Waresback
2023. nov. 10.

I would like to see someone run a linear regression analysis that compared the holding calls against the OU & Texas opponents vs Big 12 games not involving OU and Texas and/or include holding calls against OU and Texas. Based on the raw numbers from 2022, I would suspect there would be statistical significance that proved the bias.

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