Oklahoma Football: Imagine Having Baker Mayfield for Two More Seasons


In a perfect world of Oklahoma football, quarterback Baker Mayfield would be just a sophomore in terms of his athletic eligibility.

Mayfield was a walk-on quarterback at Texas Tech his freshman season in 2013. He actually earned the starting assignment that season, despite the fact that the Red Raiders had several scholarship quarterbacks on their roster.

He started the first five games in 2013 for the Red Raiders, all victories. An injury in the fifth game sidelined Mayfield, and he would not regain the starting role the remainder of that season.

At the end of the season, Mayfield elected to leave Texas Tech for personal reasons. He chose to enroll at Oklahoma in hopes that he could play football at the place he had grown up rooting for as a young boy in – of all -places – Austin, Texas.

Sep 19, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws a pass against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane during the third quarter at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

At first, head coach Bob Stoops was not even aware Mayfield was on campus. And that is the way the Texas Tech transfer wanted it to be, not seeking any special treatment. With no scholarships immediately available, Mayfield was allowed to walk-on to the OU football program. He was hopeful that he could get a waiver to the NCAA transfer rule allowing him to play immediately and not have to sit out and lose a year of eligibility.

The one big sticking point that no one had counted on was Texas Tech not granting Mayfield his full release to transfer. That still hasn’t happened, almost two full years later.

The NCAA transfer rules state that players who transfer must sit out a year before being allowed to resume their athletic eligibility. The Big 12 also has a similar transfer rule regarding players transferring to another team in the conference.

Nov 21, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) during the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Mayfield contends that he should not have lost the year of eligibility for the 2014 season he sat out after transferring to Oklahoma. His reasoning is that he was not on scholarship at Texas Tech and was paying his own way. Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, however, says that Mayfield was going to receive a scholarship beginning in the spring of 2014.

As it stands today, Mayfield, who is has had a stellar year as the Sooners starting quarterback this season, will have one year of eligibility remaining in his collegiate career. Just imagine how merry things would be around Norman this holiday season in the knowledge that the Sooners could have Mayfield at the helm for another couple of seasons.

That is what the Sooner quarterback would like to see, as well, but the options he and his family have of receiving such a ruling are near becoming few to none. The door is not completely closed yet, even though some would argue that it was never really open.

Even if the Texas Tech fiasco in not granting Mayfield his release wasn’t an issue, it is not likely that further appeals are going to change the minds of the NCAA, let alone the Big 12 board of directors, who have already denied an eligibility appeal by Mayfield and his representatives once.

Texas Tech’s actions in this situation have been deplorable and totally unsportsmanlike. In my view, the school has gained nothing good by its bullying tactic. What they have gained, though, is plenty of bad image publicity and the reputation of someone who does not play well with others.

At the very least, the Sooners will have one more season with Mayfield at the quarterback helm. His presence there this season has made all the difference between a disappointing 8-5 2014 season and the chance this season to play for and win an eighth national championship in football.