University of Oklahoma Cancels Classes on Day of Sooners’ 2024 Season Opener.

There’s been ongoing discussion over the past months (and years) about whether the Oklahoma Sooners are “SEC ready.”

Brent Venables has had two years to prepare the program for the toughest conference in football, aiming to build a culture of discipline and toughness that had declined under the previous head coach.

While many, including myself, believe that Venables is the right head coach to lead the program, preparing for the Southeastern Conference sometimes requires actions beyond his control.

The university is making an SEC-like move for OU’s first game of the 2024 season.

Oklahoma’s opener against the Temple Owls has been moved from Saturday, August 31, to Friday, August 30. As a result, the school announced the suspension of normal academic and campus operations for that day.

The Oklahoman’s Colton Sulley reported the university’s decision on social media, noting that “there was no way they could hold classes during a gameday with the parking/tailgating realities on campus.”

Indeed, OU’s Norman campus will suspend normal operations for the Aug. 30 football season opener.

In other parts of the country, the SEC has often been mocked or criticized for prioritizing athletics, especially football, over academics. This decision by the University of Oklahoma exemplifies that mindset and will significantly enhance the gameday atmosphere, as students won’t be occupied with classes in the hours leading up to kickoff. This is part of the reality when joining the SEC, like it or not.

It just means more.

Regarding the game’s rescheduling, athletic director Joe Castiglione explained, “We were asked to consider moving up the season opener by a day so ESPN could televise our first game as a member of the SEC in a primetime window. It’s a unique and exciting opportunity for us, as it will be our first Friday night game in the history of Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and will give our team tremendous visibility nationally. Another major plus is, given the kick time, our players and fans should benefit from a cooler temperature. It’s reasonable to expect that playing in the evening will significantly mitigate some of the heat issues we typically deal with during early season day games. Our first-ever ‘Friday Night Lights’ will undoubtedly be one for the books, and we’re excited to open the season and our first year in the SEC in such a spectacular fashion.”

Oklahoma versus Temple will kick off on August 30 at 6 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on ESPN.