DALLAS -- Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy says a possible future bowl encounter and a perceived lack of great interest from his former quarterback were his motivations behind refusing Wes Lunt's transfer to a Pac-12 or Southeastern Conference school.
Gundy, though, added that if Lunt would have expressed a strong desire to transfer to a school from either conference, he would have allowed it.
"When we talked, he said he wanted to go to Illinois, and I really believed that's where he wanted to go," the coach told ESPN.com on Monday at Big 12 media days, his first extensive comments about Lunt's messy departure.
"There were restrictions I had on certain schools based on what I thought was best for Oklahoma State," Gundy said of Lunt, who announced his decision to transfer to Illinois in June. "Ultimately, like three weeks into it, if he'd called me and said, 'Look, I am just dying to go to Arizona State,' I probably would have said, 'OK.' I know it looked that way, but I didn't intend to keep him from going somewhere."
Gundy spent three days trying to convince Lunt to stay in Stillwater after Lunt told him following spring practice about his plans to transfer. After he said his decision was final, Lunt asked Gundy to limit discussion of his transfer process while it was still taking shape.
"In the back of my mind, part of it was, our major bowl games that we play are against SEC schools or a Pac-12 school. That was part of my thinking," Gundy said. "He knows everything about our offense, every stinkin' thing there is. We change certain things, but he could stand over there and watch us on TV and call just about every play we run."
Gundy said it would be unfair to the rest of Oklahoma State's players to put his program at a disadvantage in a major bowl game if the Cowboys were matched up against a team with Lunt on the roster.
"Wes is as good and honest a guy there is, but [his new team's] coach is going to wear him out wanting to know what's going on," Gundy said, "and that's unfair to the other 100-something guys on my team. ... He's not like a defensive end. He knows everything we do."
Gundy also said barring Lunt from attending Southern Miss was putting an old rule into practice.
"I said years ago to guys on our staff, when you go become head coaches, you can't take our players. I don't know if he wanted to go to Southern Miss or not, but I wasn't going to let him," Gundy said.
Southern Miss coach Todd Monken was Lunt's chief recruiter and spent the 2012 season as Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator. Gundy said Lunt felt somewhat uncomfortable when Monken, an Illinois native, left to become a head coach, and that was a major factor in Lunt's decision to leave.
"It's probably like a divorce. It's never smooth, because two people decided all of a sudden it didn't work," Gundy said. "If we have a high-profile player transfer, we probably need to have a press conference and answer questions. Do I regret the decisions I made? No, because I know he got what he needed. Do I regret all the stuff that went along with it, yeah, but I didn't know how to fix it, because I wasn't going to go out and start changing things."
Gundy also confirmed Monday that freshman defensive end Naim Mustafaa, a four-star prospect, left the program.