“Texas had options.”

I can see where Michael Elkon wanted to go with this analogy, but he realizes that he can only take it so far.

… Let’s say that Colorado went to the Pac Ten and Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas joined the Big Ten. At first glance, that would leave Texas in an eviscerated Big XII. However, the Horns would still have options. One suspects that the SEC would jump at the chance to add Texas along with Texas A&M or Oklahoma, as would the Pac Ten.

That, it turns out, is probably the glue that’s holding the Big XII together right now.

… Basically, the Big 12’s formula for distributing its football television revenue is: 50 percent divided equally among the schools, the other 50 percent based on appearances.

Which means Texas, OU and Nebraska will reap more than Baylor or Iowa State. In 2008, the difference between the largest payout (Texas) and the smallest payout (Baylor) was approximately $2.7 million.

That might seem grievous, considering the economic prosperity of leagues that share media revenues equally (SEC, Big Ten, National Football League). But the current system was necessary to formation of the Big 12 in the mid-’90s.

“It’s the foundation upon which the conference was formed,” said UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds. “It’s not something going to be changed easily.”

Changing would require a vote of 9-3, and while the topic pops up every few years, a Big 12 school would be foolish to vote for change and risk losing Texas to another conference. Change it now, and the Longhorns might scram before sundown.

When the Big 12 was formed, “Texas had options,” said then-OU athletic director Donnie Duncan, who with Dodds put the league together. “Those options haven’t changed.”

Nope.  In fact, they’re probably getting ready to be enhanced.

He acknowledged talking about a shared TV network possibility with both the Pac-10 and Atlantic Coast Conference. The proposal would also allow Big 12 schools a chance to maximize individual TV revenue. Think a possible Longhorn or Cornhusker cable network, for example.

“I don’t think you can come out and say, ‘We’re going to do a traditional deal or we’re going to do a network deal,’ ” Beebe said. “I think we have to be open to all possibilities.”

It’s good to be the king.


Filed under Big 12 Football, It's Just Bidness

6 responses to ““Texas had options.”

  1. The Realist

    It’s hard to maintain competitive equity with unequal shares of the revenue pie. Of course, competitive equity isn’t always the objective…


    • Macallanlover

      There has always been, and will continue to be, an undercurrent of resentment toward Texas from other Big 12 schools. But Texas is holding the higher ground/stronger hand so they will have to swallow that pride and wishful thinking. Best rule of thumb is, “Don’t Mess with Texas.” What we can all hope for is Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M, and Mizzou to step up their football programs and return to their stronger form. The BCS wouldn’t be as tough to live with if there was some equality in the test each highly ranked team had faced during the season.

      I don’t see the break-up of the Big 12, although there may be some minor ins and outs. The geography in that conference is just too great to see much changing beyond Mizzou or Colorado. Austin is too isolated by hundreds of miles to ever join the PAC 10 or Big 11.

      In the 90s and early years of this century I felt the Big 12 was pretty darn close to the SEC as a football conference, but the gap has widened considerably since becoming a 2 horse race between UT and OU, similar to the Big 11 before Michigan fell off the map. Miami, FSU, and Clemson have disappointed in the ACC so that conference has fallen back after looking like they would be stronger. The gap between them and the SEC has actually widened considerably. The encouraging conference to me is the PAC 10 which looks to be more competitive in coming years and has a chance to move away from the Big 1, Small 9 label everyone has applied to them. I just don’t see the Big East ever becoming a football conference with adequate depth.


      • Phocion

        Is it that the Pac10 has improved or that USC might be heading back to the pack?

        Oregon, the Pac10 champ this year, faced two big time non-Pac10 teams…and looked bad against both of them.

        Stanford had flashes of quality…but they are Stanford and underwhelmed against a beat up Oklahoma in their bowl game.

        Arizona was schitzo as usual…same goes for Cal.

        OSU didn’t impress anyone…and UCLA looked ugly for stretches.

        So where is the rise in the Pac10 tide? Seems more like a general confusion of ‘parity’ for ‘quality’.


        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Should the SEC get Texas and Oklahoma to leave the Big 12 and join us? Would it be good for the existing SEC members? Those are 2 of the top programs in the nation. Most of the SEC can pencil in at least one loss, maybe two, each year if those 2 teams get added to the schedule. UGA is 1-3 against the ‘Horns. (OK and UGA have never played as best I can determine). I prefer adding SMU and TCU instead. That would sew up the Dallas/Ft. Worth TV market, one of the biggest in the U.S. If the SEC wanted to take over Texas, also add Rice and Houston, thereby getting the Houston TV market,too. All four of those teams (or any combo) would jump at the chance and would not try to extort extra money from the rest of the SEC like Texas and OK probably would. Plus, those are winnable games for the other SEC members while at the same time would help SMU, TCU, Rice and Houston in recruiting and undoubtedly improve their OOC records.


          • Phocion

            I don’t see the SEC expanding anytime soon. Honestly, I don’t think that anybody but the Big10 adds a team.

            As for TV markets…nobody in Houston cares about UH or Rice. Texas, Texas A&M and OU are the tv draws. The SEC is on in Houston as much as they will be whether or not UH or Rice is in the league…and neither of those two teams brings anything of value to the conference on the football field. The only athletic positive would be baseball. And I can’t imagine opening the football coffers for a couple of baseball teams.


        • Macallanlover

          You may well be right, although I feel UCLA, Oregon, and Stanford are stepping up their level of play with Cal remaining competitive. I guess I am more interested in programs facing a “reasonable” chance to lose 3-5 times a year so they don’t get handed a pass to a game that gives them a chance to crow about winning a mythical title some give credence to when they faced only one game with comparable athletes. That isn’t the same as being on par with the SEC, but it is ACCesque. Guess I am content to have slightly above average teams eliminated by mediocrity, whatever it takes.