This weekend marks the soft launch of the Brent Venables era of Oklahoma football. It's a massive family reunion, galvanized by the rally-around-the-flag effect of Lincoln Riley's stunning departure and the re-entry of Venables to Sooner nation. OU has sold more than 50,000 tickets to Saturday's spring game, with more than 200 former Sooner lettermen expected to attend. Among those lettermen is Baker Mayfield, who had his Heisman Park statue unveiled.
But arguably the biggest event of the biggest weekend in Venables' tenure thus far happened Friday night, and Venables wasn't even involved.
The 1Oklahoma Collective announced its presence, with plans to pay every football, men's basketball and softball player "an opportunity" to earn between $40,000 and $50,000 per year. Like many in the collective space, 1Oklahoma is presented as a charitable entity. While light on specifics, the plan seems to be to pay Sooner athletes to do good samaritan work with partnered charities and non-profits.
Some would argue this is not first time Switzer oversaw Oklahoma's efforts in the NIL space.
Texas announced a similar initiative back in December, the Clark Field Collective, which was also heavy on ambition and light on specifics, a $10 million fund to provide "universal basic earnings" for Longhorn athletes. A $40,000 base salary for 85 scholarship Sooners would put the 1Oklahoma pay roll at $3.4 million per year.
It remains to be seen what non-profits will be involved in 1Oklahoma, as well as what will be required of OU football players to earn their anticipated minimum of $40,000. That can all be hashed out later.
But as for the recruiting benefits of Friday night's announcement? Oklahoma hopes those hit immediately.