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Big Ten Reportedly Only Interested in AAU Schools, Which Would Exclude OSU

Could OSU find a way around the AAU hurdle?

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Oklahoma State to the Big Ten was a popular idea for the Cowboys’ fan base this weekend, but there is at least one roadblock in the Pokes’ way.

On Monday, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported that the Big Ten was only interested in adding Association of American Universities (AAU) schools. The AAU is a collection of universities that “earn the majority of competitively awarded federal funding for research that improves public health, seeks to address national challenges, and contributes significantly to our economic strength, while educating and training tomorrow’s visionary leaders and innovators.”

The AAU has 66 member schools, and only three hail from the perhaps crumbling Big 12: Texas, Kansas and Iowa State. This means no matter how enticing adding Oklahoma State might be for the conference athletically, it wouldn’t academically fit.

Carson Cunningham and Colby Powell discuss the implications of OU and Texas leaving the Big 12 for the SEC and what it means for OSU in the latest Pistols Firing podcast.

It isn’t unheard of for a Big Ten school to not be AAU accredited, as Nebraska has proven. Nebraska was an AAU member when it entered the Big Ten in 2011, but has since fallen out of the organization.

If OSU was to find a loophole into the Big Ten, it would make for an interesting spot for the Cowboys and Cowgirls to land. If the Big Ten wanted to hop up to 16 schools, adding from the sinking Big 12, it could look something like this:

Why Oklahoma State?

Geographically, this might be the best fit for OSU outside of the Big 12 and SEC. It would allow the Cowboys some regional rivalries with Kansas and Nebraska, and trips to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio wouldn’t be as long as trips to Oregon and Washington.

Why Kansas?

Well, it certainly isn’t football. However, the Jayhawks’ basketball program would be a solid addition to the league with a solid history in the sport.

Iowa State?

If the Big Ten is looking at just adding two schools, Iowa State could be a hurdle for OSU. To start, Iowa is already in the conference, so the Big Ten would get the battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy. Iowa State is also an AAU school (along with Kansas), so if that point sticks, Iowa State and Kansas would make more sense than Oklahoma State at this point.

Could the B1G Dream Bigger?

The Big Ten just saw the SEC take a major step forward in likely hijacking two big brand programs in Oklahoma and Texas, so could the Big Ten also look at other big brands?

USC, UCLA and Oregon are AAU schools. Geographically, it would make little sense, but in an arms race that might already be the doom of the Big 12, the Big Ten might feel the need to stay on track with the SEC and perhaps spell doom for another Power Five conference.

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