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OU athletics: 3 takeaways from Joe Castiglione's media teleconference

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Riley and Castiglione

OU coach Lincoln Riley with athletic director Joe Castiglione after the Sooners won the Red River Showdown at the Cotton Bowl Oct. 12, 2019.

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione spoke to the media for nearly an hour via teleconference Thursday and gave updates on the athletic department's work during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Big 12 has banned all in-person team activities until May 31, and OU has suspended all in-person activities until July 31 because of the pandemic.

Here are three takeaways from Castiglione's conference call:

Castiglione frequently meeting with coaches and peers 

With every team not being able to meet with its players or staff in person, Castiglione said he meets with every coach on a Zoom conference call once a week, and he will speak with individual coaches multiple times if needed.  He said he talks to football coach Lincoln Riley nearly every day to talk about how the program is doing with communication with players, staff and recruits.

On a larger scale, Castiglione speaks with the other nine Big 12 athletic directors at least once a week along with speaking to athletic directors from other conferences. 

“Our conference ADs have at least one conference call a week. We had a few weeks there were we had several (per week). This week we’ve only scheduled one, but we always stay ready if we need more than one,” Castilgione said. “I have a group of athletic directors that I talk to throughout the year on any number of subjects and they are in different conferences."

OU focusing on getting student-athletes on campus prior to season

Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp said on Wednesday that it’s possible to have a 13-game college football season that starts as late as October. As of right now, the question of there even being a 2020 season is up in the air due to coronavirus concerns.

Castiglione said universities have to focus on simply getting student-athletes on campus first before thinking about having a season. All OU campus activities are suspended until July 31.

“The good news is I don’t think individual universities are going to be making that decision,” Castiglione said. “Whatever we decide will be done collectively through our conferences working together. The types of conversations I’m having, not just with our ADs in our own conference but with ADs in other conferences, we’re all talking about what that might look like. I don’t want to start down a path of trying to throw one model out there over the other, but first and foremost we’re still very positive and hopeful that we’ll get good medical advice that we can start welcoming student-athletes back on campus for practice. We can’t talk about seasons until we figure out when we’re going to be able to welcome student-athletes back on campus for any kind of preparation.”

Financial ramifications of cancellations

Castiglione said there are plans and preparations for Sooner teams not being able to compete in NCAA tournaments or spring sports. But a number on just how much money the school and the conference will lose is still to be discovered. Castiglione said it’ll be in the millions of dollars.

"We have already made accommodations for a reduction in conference revenue — whether it's NCAA distribution, television and royalty right distribution as they involve the entire conference, bowl games, the College Football Playoff — any of that all flows first to the conference and is then distributed to the conference institutions," Castiglione said. "So we know there's going to be a reduction of some level, it's in the millions of dollars, but it remains to be seen until all of that is accounted for and exactly how much."

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