OU’s athletic department is seeking bids to modernize and streamline how its personnel travels, according to a request for proposal posted by the university this week.
The university noted private air travel needs are expected to increase — a cost of the Sooners’ transition to the Southeastern Conference in 2025 — and is seeking up to 250 hours of private air charter services per contract year.
The proposal solicits bids for 200 hours for less than four passengers and 50 hours for between four and nine passengers, according to the document. The proposal also notes that the university is seeking private air charter services year-round with guaranteed service during peak travel times, including multiple aircraft based on NCAA recruiting calendars.
The dates services will be needed during recruiting are listed as follows: Nov. 28-Dec. 17 and Jan. 13-28 for football; April 6-19, 24-27 and May 1-4 for men’s basketball; and March 1-29 for women’s basketball.
The request for proposal also states that the charters could also be used for team travel, attending conference meetings and other university-related business.
Under the proposal, OU would be able to book or cancel flights with as little as 24 hours notice. And once finalized with a winning bidder, the arrangement would begin no later than this December.
The travel changes come as OU has discussed a slew of facility upgrades since accepting its invitation to the SEC. The university also revealed at a board of regents meeting last Thursday that it has created a committee to manage internal and external needs as it prepares to enter the SEC.
“We’re continuing to make great progress on our readiness to move to the SEC,” Eric Stevenson, the OU Board of Regents chair overseeing administrations and operations, said at the meeting on Sept. 15 in Tulsa. “(Athletic director Joe Castiglione) and his team have put together a robust committee to address both internal OU and external community needs to make sure that we’re ready when we do make that move to the SEC and we continue to be on track for that to happen in 2025.”