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Oklahoma Sooners Football Hot Links: OU Athletics going digital with tickets, Jamal Bieniemy finds a home, and more!

Also, Jalen Hurts and Maggie Nichols are OU’s Big 12 Athlete of the Year nominees.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 23 TCU at Oklahoma Photo by David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Thursday, friends and fans!

Former Oklahoma Sooners men’s basketball guard Jamal Bieniemy is officially transferring to UTEP, according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman. The rising junior previously announced his intentions to transfer from OU on April 10.

Since news of Bieniemy’s impending transfer broke, Lon Kruger’s Sooners have acquired a couple transfers of their own in North Texas’ Umoja Gibson and Cal State Northridge’s Elijah Harkless. With guard play being so important in today’s college basketball, it was vital for Oklahoma to find adequate replacements for what it lost in both experience and production from a season ago.

UTEP is an interesting landing spot for Bieniemy considering the Miners’ program has struggled on the court as of late, not to mention El Paso is quite a bit further from his home in Katy, Texas than Norman is. In any case, Sooner Nation wishes him all the best of luck moving forward.

Now for today’s Hot Links! OU tickets are going completely digital, Lincoln Riley continues to rise as one of the top coaches in the nation, drama on the race track is back and more!

OU Links

  • In case you missed it, OU Athletics announced it will be fully transitioning over to digital ticketing across all sporting events, including for parking at football games. It’s quite a change that should propel the department forward with the times, and marks the end of an era for those who have collected physical ticket stubs throughout the years.
  • This Friday you can begin voting for the Big 12 Male and Female Athletes of the Year, and Oklahoma has a candidate up for each award in Jalen Hurts and Maggie Nichols. Since 2000-01, a total of 11 OU student-athletes have received these honors, including Nichols in 2017-18. The women’s gymnastics phenom now has a chance to become the first two-time winner in school history. This year’s winners will be announced on May 28.
  • CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli recently ranked his top 25 Power Five head coaches going into 2020, and OU’s Lincoln Riley checked in at No. 3. That’s one spot higher than his position last year, and puts him just behind Alabama’s Nick Saban and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney. Also making the list was Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy at 13, TCU’s Gary Patterson at 16, and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell at 25.
  • Tulsa World’s Eric Bailey recently caught up with a few former Oklahoma players to get an idea of how they would have handled a pandemic back when they were still on the team.
  • Class of 2021 four-star defensive end Kelvin Gilliam recently stated that he and No. 1 QB Caleb Williams have primarily been discussing Oklahoma when they’ve talked about which colleges they could ultimately sign to. It’s yet another positive development that could result in OU landing one of the top players in the upcoming recruiting class. SI Sooners’ Parker Thune has more.
  • CBS Sports’ Sean Wagner-McGough ranked his top 25 NFL players under 25 years old, and Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray made the cut at No. 19 after his Offensive Rookie of the Year season.

Around the Sports World

  • On Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Council voted to allow voluntary on-campus athletic activities for student-athletes involved in football, men’s and women’s basketball beginning June 1. It’s a potentially huge step towards fall sports commencing without a hitch.
  • Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is currently in the middle of contract negotiations, and according to reports close to the situation, the fifth-year pro is seeking a ludicrous $45 million in his final year. If he’s to agree to the proposed five-year, $175 million that’s been offered, that would average to $35 million a year, making him the highest paid player at his position in league history.
  • Speaking of the Cowboys, DE Aldon Smith was conditionally reinstated by the NFL on Wednesday, allowing him to join the team (whenever that becomes permissible) and eventually return to the playing field.
  • The Oakland Athletics reportedly have not made their annual stadium rent payment of $1.2 million that was due on April 1, citing a lack of revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. Well, duh.
  • As sports slowly begin to return to our lives, we were treated to this delightful night of entertainment from the world of NASCAR on Wednesday. With 28 laps to go at the Toyota 500, Kyle Busch spun Chase Elliott out in what seemed like a pretty intentional move. As Busch rounded the track the next time around, Elliott gave him the bird in what I can only describe as a totally relatable manner. You’ll get him next time, man.

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