Big 12 defenses can rest a little easier Wednesday night.
A proposed rule that would have netted Oklahoma senior quarterback Baker Mayfield a year of eligibility failed as a result of 5-5 vote of Big 12 faculty representatives, per Chuck Carlton of The Dallas Morning News. Thus, 2016 will be Mayfield's final season with Oklahoma. A simple majority was needed for the measure to pass.
Mayfield wrote "I will be making the most of my last season I get to suit up for Oklahoma" in a lengthy message posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday night.
However, the voting down of the proposed ruled change does not mean the upcoming season will be Mayfield's final one in college football.
Mayfield walked on at his previous CFB stop, Texas Tech, and, per Big 12 rules, lost a year of eligibility when he transferred to Oklahoma. The rule, had it passed, would have allowed walk-ons such as Mayfield to transfer within the conference without losing a year of eligibility.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby expressed concern over that scenario in discussing the proposed rule change last week.
"I think we all ought to be a little bit thoughtful about it," Bowlsby said, per The DMN. "Absent Baker Mayfield getting relief, he'll have a year of eligibility left and won't be able to use it in our conference but instead would go someplace else and use it. That might not be in anybody's best interest."
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops released a statement after the vote on Wednesday and expressed his disappointment with the outcome.
"I'm incredibly disappointed the rule change proposal wasn't passed today at Big 12 meetings," Stoops stated. "I hope the conference will reconsider its decision and put the welfare of student-athletes first. It only makes sense for the Big 12's rules to be consistent with those of the NCAA when it comes to non-scholarship walk-on student-athletes.
"Yes, today's vote impacts Baker Mayfield, but in reality this is about all student-athletes in all sports at Big 12 schools. Again, I'm disappointed for Baker, but also for anyone down the road who may be negatively impacted by today's vote."
Mayfield was rated last month as the No. 24 player in college football by NFL Media analyst Chad Reuter.
The QB finished fourth in the Heisman voting last year. With another season like that, it won't be a surprise if he determines he's accomplished enough in the CFB ranks and moves on to the next level.