Big 12 Football 2012: Reported New TV Contract Helps Stabilize Conference
In the last year, the Big 12 has been in utter disarray.
The Longhorn Network got folks worked up into a tizzy. Texas A&M decided that they did not want to kowtow to their in-state rivals any longer, so the Aggies decided to make an SEC move.
Mizzou saw the dollar signs and the possible stability of the SEC and joined the Aggies on the move out.
Things were not good.
In a world of 12 and now 14 team conferences, the league sat as a fractured eight-team mess that had seen four of its members leave without much of a care, opting to become a crew member on another boat, rather than weather the expansion storm for the righting of the Big XII's ship.
Then Chuck Neinas came aboard.
People were skeptical of the new, old face on the block. Neinas had been the Big 8 commissioner from 1971 to 1980, and since then the name Neinas has grown to be synonymous with the college football headhunting game.
Neinas' company was one of the first and has grown into the premier firm responsible for finding head coaches and athletic directors for schools—for a fee.
Folks can say what they want about Neinas' placement of coaches, the man has done a masterful job during his stint as the interim commissioner of the Big XII.
Currently the league stands at 10 members as they are set to welcome TCU and West Virginia for the 2012 season. On the surface at least stability has been restored from a scheduling standpoint.
Enter the report from Michael Smith and John Ourand from the Sports Business Daily that speaks to the continued 'shoring up' of the Big 12 through a television contract that stands to fix the league for the future.
A joint Fox and ESPN deal that would see them paying $1.2 and $1.3 billion respectively to the league over the next 12 years, solidifying the conference through the 2025 season.
Yes, that's billion with a "B" folks.
It's a push that would see the league pulling in close to $208 million a season, with each school netting around $19 million bucks off the television contract each year.
That's more than the SEC—and a lot more than the ACC. It's right behind the Pac-12 and Larry Scott's blockbuster deal that netted schools some $21 million a season.
Basically the Big XII would be here to stay for now.
This should kill the expansion talk as the conference, including power players Texas and Oklahoma, are content with the 10 team format, especially with Neinas supporting the four team playoff.
Ten teams, nine conference games, no conference championship game and the Big 12 allows their regular season, outright league champion a chance to get into the conference champions-only playoff, without the damning conference title game the league has seen be a bugaboo to teams in the past.
With the reported deal—if the money is coming in like that—there is no reason for the league to expand.
The teams are all sharing revenue equally and while the Longhorn Network does exist, the amount of goodwill built through equal shares—and nearly $20 million a season in revenue—makes things a lot easier to swallow.
Things are finally looking up for the Big 12. There's an air of stability in the league that spans from West Virginia to Texas, and there looks to be real cash money rolling in soon.
Chuck Neinas has proven in less than a year what a capable, business-savvy conference commissioner can do for a league.
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