STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma State billionaire booster Boone Pickens says he doesn't think the Big 12 will last much longer and believes the Cowboys eventually will end up in what's now the Pac-12 Conference.
Speaking before No. 9 Oklahoma State's season opener Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette, Pickens said the Big 12 probably won't exist in five years.
Pickens said he spoke with top officials at Texas A&M before that university announced last week it planned to leave the Big 12. But he says A&M's leaders didn't heed his advice.
In a statement, Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis confirmed university officials "worked actively to encourage Texas A&M to remain in the Big 12 and regret the Aggies decided to leave."
Hargis said Oklahoma State is "moving ahead. Oklahoma State University's athletic program has never been stronger from top to bottom, putting us in a position to explore and pursue options, including the possible expansion of our current conference. We are in close communications with our colleagues at the University of Oklahoma and expect a decision soon that will be in the best interest of our institutions and the state of Oklahoma."
Pickens said Oklahoma State does not need to make a hasty decision.
"Don't rush the monkey and you'll see a better show," Pickens said. "...We don't have to decide this weekend.
"This conversation is going to come up every year as long as the conference is not equal. You've got to have an equal deal like the SEC."
Pickens said TCU is the logical choice if the Big 12 wants to add a 10th team following Texas A&M's departure. He says Notre Dame and BYU wouldn't be good fits for the conference.
"Notre Dame already has a network and they're damaged merchandise, as far as I'm concerned," Pickens said. "I don't want Notre Dame. And BYU? Who in the hell knows where Provo, Utah, is? The natural one is TCU. So, if that's it, do it and go forward.
"You can fix the Big 12 now, but it's got to go to an equal deal, and it's not equal."
Texas, which seemed to be in control of the situation last season as a half-dozen league members considered invitations from the Pac-12, might have overplayed its hand with the creation of the Longhorn Network, which has been cited by supporters of A&M and other Big 12 schools as giving the Longhorns an unfair advantage.
"The network could have been the straw that broke the camel's back," he said. "A lot of people didn't understand how dominant Texas was in the Big 12, how powerful they were."
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds "is a friend of mine," Pickens said. "But DeLoss had too many cards and he played every damn one of them. I think that's too bad. You get tired of saying 'aaah' while you get something shoved down your throat. I think that's where we came out."
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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