A possible extra year for Baker Mayfield would pay dividends for Oklahoma
A proposed rule change by the Big 12 could give Mayfield an extra year of eligibility
2016 is supposed to be the final year of eligibility for Oklahoma senior quarterback Baker Mayfield. If a Big 12 rule proposal passes next week at the conference's spring meetings, Mayfield's eligibility would extend to 2017.
According to Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News, a "proposed rule change is on the agenda for the Big 12's faculty representatives Wednesday at conference meetings next week." Carlton added on Twitter that the modification would apply to non-recruited walk-ons, not just Mayfield.
The proposed Big 12 change would involve non-recruited walk-ons, Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione said, and not just Mayfield.— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) May 27, 2016
So, while the change might unofficially be called the Baker Mayfield rule should it pass, it would apply to more players than just Mayfield across the conference.
The big thing with this rule change is that it would play into what Mayfield has been arguing for the last couple of years. Mayfield essentially lost a year of eligibility while sitting out for a season when he transferred from Texas Tech to Oklahoma in 2014. That satisfied Big 12 inter-conference and NCAA transfer rules, respectively.
Mayfield and his family have been, in a word, "vocal" in their displeasure with those rules since he was not on scholarship at Texas Tech. Mayfield's appeal to regain his eligibility in time for the 2014 season was previously denied by the NCAA.
However, if the rule change does not pass, Carlton notes that "Mayfield could transfer from Oklahoma outside of the Big 12 for 2017 and get an NCAA waiver for his final season." Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told the paper, though, "that might not be in anybody's best interest."
To be sure, Mayfield would have no shortage of interested schools if that ends up being the case.
Oklahoma would surely want Mayfield to finish his career in Norman and the feeling is mutual. The Sooners are projected to be Big 12 favorites and Mayfield enters the season as a legitimate Heisman hopeful. Last year, Mayfield finished a distant fourth in the Heisman voting and tallied 4,105 yards of total offense to go along with 43 touchdowns. In 2017, Oklahoma would still have plenty of eligible skill players on offense plus the potential for a veteran offensive line that is undergoing a rebuild this year.
If offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley sticks around for another year, Mayfield and Oklahoma's offense can be set up for success for the next two seasons. In addition to his scrambling and overall playmaking ability, Mayfield's on-and-off-field bravado gives Oklahoma an extra boost in confidence and leadership.
If Mayfield stays at Oklahoma until 2017, the focus would then shift to Texas A&M transfer Kyler Murray and his future. Murray left College Station after his freshman season and must sit out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. He would be a redshirt sophomore by 2017 and more likely to compete for a starting job by his redshirt junior season. Murray is also an accomplished baseball player and generally thought of as a top-50 prospect by many outlets.
Other quarterbacks who could compete for the starting job later include Austin Kendall, a 4-star early enrollee for the class of 2016, and 2017 verbal commit Chris Robison.
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