- Dave Wilson is an editor for ESPN.com since 2010. He previously worked at The Dallas Morning News, San Diego Union-Tribune and Las Vegas Sun.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Tuesday that any discussion about his school’s role in the future of the Bedlam rivalry with Oklahoma was “childish.”
Athletic directors for both schools told the Action Network on Monday that the series would officially be ending when Oklahoma departs for the SEC.
“We don’t have any openings to play them,” Oklahoma State’s Chad Weiberg said. “We’re full. Unless there are significant undertakings to make the game happen, it can’t happen.”
Weiberg’s counterpart at Oklahoma, Joe Castiglione, said that the Cowboys had opted not to continue with the series.
“Oklahoma State has shown no interest to schedule any future games in football, so we’re moving on,” he said.
On Tuesday, Gundy told reporters at Cowboys practice that while he likes Castiglione, “We’ve got to quit beating around the bush and call it the way it is.”
“Bedlam is history, we all know that. We’ve known that,” Gundy said, “because OU chose to follow Texas and the money to the SEC. It’s OK. So now, we’re having what I think are childish discussions, in my opinion, over something that’s done. And I would like to make this the last statement that I have because I have no hard feelings.
“But what’s going on now is almost a situation with a husband and a wife, or a girlfriend and a boyfriend when you know you’re dead wrong and you try to turn the table and make them think they’re wrong, when Oklahoma State has no part in this.”
Later Tuesday, Castiglione told ESPN that Oklahoma has slightly more nonconference scheduling flexibility than Oklahoma State, but he hasn’t given up entirely on a future Bedlam series.
“I think it will come back at some point in the 2030s,” he said. Castiglione added that the Sooners are talking to Oklahoma State officials about competing in other sports they have in common, but “football is a little different” because they schedule farther in advance and there are fewer nonconference opportunities and dates to work with than there are in other sports.
“It makes total sense for us to keep the competition between the two schools going,” he said.
Gundy said the Cowboys were not involved in what he called the months of “multibillion-dollar conversations” between Oklahoma and the SEC, and therefore had no choice on the issue.
“So, everybody needs to get over it and move on and quit trying to turn the tables,” he said. “It’s somewhat comical that they still want to bring us into this equation. Let’s not turn the tables. Let’s just say, ‘Hey, look, we chose to follow Texas and take the money and we’re going to the SEC.’ It’s all good. Let’s quit talking about it. Let’s talk about football.”
Gundy has been outspoken on the end of the rivalry, which was first played in 1904 with 116 meetings since then. In July, at Big 12 media days, he said the series was winding down.
“The future of Bedlam is a year or two left,” he said in July. “I mean, that’s the future that’s based on somebody else’s decision.”
Gundy predicted that most conferences will move to nine conference games, which makes it even harder for nonconference games to be scheduled, particularly when the Cowboys’ schedule was already booked through 2032 or 2033.
“You’re talking about contract buyouts, and you’re talking about convincing head coaches to play another game, which would be like playing another conference game,” Gundy said in July. “There’s a lot going on. I think most fans would love to do it. I just don’t think it’s feasible to happen, in my opinion.”
Gundy also said at that time that if he were new Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark, he wouldn’t allow Texas and Oklahoma in league business meetings.
“I say that jokingly,” Gundy said. “But I mean, if you’re strategically in a business meeting, if it’s two cell phone companies, I don’t want somebody from their company in my company.”
ESPN Senior Writer Heather Dinich contributed to this report.
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