The Big 8 Conference mandated Oklahoma forfeits in three conference games, giving Nebraska the title. Oklahoma reverted this record at a later date; hence, both Oklahoma and Nebraska claim this title.
The Sooners' 1972 record is marred by the use of an ineligible player. In self-reporting the violations to the NCAA, Oklahoma voluntarily forfeited eight games. The NCAA later penalized the program by reducing scholarships, TV appearances and bowl appearances. In 2008 a blogger for Washington, DC TV station WJLA stated, "The NCAA claims that according to a now-retired statistician of the era, and a review of its database (which the NCAA admits might not be totally complete) that forfeits were NOT [sic] part of the NCAA sanctions levied against the Sooners." A commenter stated, "The 1972 forfeits by Oklahoma were sanctioned by The Big Eight. As such Oklahoma's conference record was adjusted, while their overall record was not. In older Oklahoma media guide ... Oklahoma would show their record as 11-1 with a 3-4 conference record (reflecting 3 forfeits, despite the original 7 or 8 forfeited. ...) Also, if you check the media guides of the teams Oklahoma "forfeited" to, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma State, you'll not[e] similar adjustments. Each team didn't change their overall record, but changed their conference record." Oklahoma had used players (including Kerry Jackson, the team's first black quarterback) with falsified transcripts and on April 18, 1973, voluntarily forfeited eight games. Eventually, the Big Eight sanctioned the forfeit of three conference victories (Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma State), but Oklahoma now recognizes these as wins and claims the 1972 conference title.
Pruitt led the Sooners in rushing with 1024 yards, Dave Robertson led in passing with 1136 yards, and Tinker Owens led in receiving
(for the first of four consecutive seasons) with 430 yards. Pruitt led in scoring with 86 points, Shoate in tackles with 145, and Dan Ruster in interceptions with seven.
The 1972 Sooners twice posted 37 first downs, which was a school record that stood for 16 seasons.