JUNE 20, 2007

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OU adds women's rowing to intercollegiate athletics,
commits to a new boathouse

University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren recently announced that with the assistance of Oklahoma City civic leaders Aubrey K. McClendon and Clayton I. Bennett, OU will add women’s rowing to its intercollegiate athletics program.

McClendon and Bennett have worked with the Riverfront Redevelopment Authority and with the OU Athletics Department on the addition of the sport. They have both also been involved in private fund raising for a new boathouse to be constructed on the banks of the Oklahoma River for the sport. McClendon has made a lead gift of $1 million toward the project, and another $1 million will come from a group of private donors led by Bennett. It will be matched by $2 million in Athletics Department bonds to complete the $4 million facility.

“The University of Oklahoma is extremely excited to add this new sport to its athletics program,” said OU President David L. Boren. “We are grateful to Aubrey and Clay for their leadership in this effort. The University also is excited that the Sooner flag will be flying prominently along the Oklahoma River in downtown Oklahoma City, which over the next few years will become one of the most dynamic places in the entire state.”

“Clay and I are very pleased to help encourage further boathouse development along the Oklahoma River. Women’s rowing is becoming an important intercollegiate sport throughout the country, and now our city will be part of that experience,” said McClendon. “The OU boathouse will be designed by Rand Elliott along a new Boathouse Row that is developing just east of the Chesapeake Boathouse. OU’s commitment to a first-class new boathouse will help achieve our dream of developing Oklahoma City into the premier rowing venue in the United States. In doing so, Oklahoma City will be able to attract the most competitive rowing teams and spectators to participate in outstanding events, making Oklahoma City a true destination for worldwide visitors.”

“Bringing more college athletic events to Oklahoma City is a specific goal of ours, so obviously this is a giant step forward,” said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. “The Oklahoma River is fulfilling every dream we’ve had. Our thanks to Joe Castiglione and the University of Oklahoma.”

The addition of women’s rowing will increase Oklahoma’s Athletics Department programs to a total of 21 sports.

The boathouse, which will be located on the north side of the river, directly east of the Chesapeake boathouse, will serve as the competitive hub for the team.

The athletics department plans to initiate the new program with the recruitment of a coach and staff during the 2007/08 academic year to begin the process of establishing the program and building a roster. Scholarships will then be phased in over a two- to three-year period.

Completion of the boathouse is expected by fall of 2009.

This is the first sports addition since 1996, when women’s soccer joined the program.

Contact: Jerri Culpepper, OU, (405) 325-1701