OU’s Mayfield will play in 2017 season

Big 12 Faculty Athletic Representatives took a second vote last week and reversed the league’s policy to let Oklahoma quarterback have a third year to play for the Sooners.

Mayfield was a walk-on football player at Texas Tech as a freshman. The talented quarterback won the starting job but when Red Raider coach Kliff Kingsbury declined to assure him of a scholarship, Mayfield decided to transfer to Oklahoma (even though he had not been recruited by OU to change schools).

Mayfield sat out one season and won the starting job at OU last fall. League rules say that transferring players not only must sit out a year but will lose a year of eligibility.

Mayfield and the OU coaching staff contended that the rule was unfair because as a walk-on, Mayfield was never recruited and never on scholarship at Texas Tech. Kingsbury could have released Mayfield from that rule but he refuses to do so.

Mayfield will be a senior this fall but a junior in eligibility. Under the old rule, should he graduate, he would be eligible to go to another school outside the Big 12 – like Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson, Oregon, USC, etc. – and play immediately with one year of eligibility but not at a Big 12 school.

OU officials agree with the policy that a player – walk-on or not – should have to sit out one year to prevent schools from recruiting from league teams. “I appreciate the Big 12 Faculty Athletics Representatives spending more time studying the important issue of walk-on transfers and am pleased by the result of today’s Big 12 vote — not just because it potentially impacts Baker Mayfield, but because it was the right thing to do,” OU coach Bob Stoops said in a statement.

OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione agreed.

“Our view at Oklahoma is that non-scholarship student-athletes should have the right to transfer without losing a year of eligibility,” Castiglione said in a statement. “With that in mind, we are very pleased with the result of today’s vote of Big 12 Faculty Athletics Representatives. With student-athlete welfare on the front of our minds, today’s decision was the appropriate one. I’m appreciative of the willingness of conference colleagues to consider — and implement — change that could benefit walk-ons in the future.”

Mayfield played eight games for the Red Raiders that season, starting seven, and throwing for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns. He beat Trevor Knight and Cody Thomas last year to start for the Sooners.

Mayfield threw for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He ran for 405 yards and seven touchdowns. Mayfield was the Sporting News’ Player of the Year and finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting.