Big 12 Realignment: Other Schools Should Start Their Own Network without Texas

Gerald BallCorrespondent IJune 21, 2010

SAN ANTONIO - APRIL 04:  (L-R) Brittney Griner #42 of the Baylor Bears is pressured by Caroline Doty #5 and Tina Charles #31 of the Connecticut Huskies in the second half during the Women's Final Four Semifinals at the Alamodome on April 4, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas. Connecticut defeated Baylor 70-50. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Many people want to see the Big 12 conference collapse so that Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M will be forced into the Pac-10 (elitists who despise middle America and as such who could care less that this would leave Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and Baylor behind.)

But despite this, the truth is that the Big 12 is secure for the next 10 years, several other conferences are actually weaker and less stable than the Big 12, and we have no idea what the college football landscape will look like 10 years from now.

The reasons for this are simple: Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma have no reason to leave a Big 12 where they will make more money and be more competitive than anyplace else, and the other seven schools—the ones that will allegedly be so angry at Texas, OU, and A&M making more money than them—have no other options.

It's the Big 12 or the Big East (one of the conferences less stable than the Big 12 that I was speaking of) for Kansas and Missouri, the Mountain West for Kansas State and Iowa State, and Conference USA for Baylor.

Those are the best scenarios, not the worst ones.

Now the conference sticking together for the near future may be good, but the teams involved can still make things better. They have an interest in increasing their revenue and exposure, and also in strengthening the league's stability and competitive position should one or two of its schools (say, Missouri) leave down the line.

A key way of accomplishing this should be to create an "other than Texas" Big 12 TV network. As a matter of fact, they could still call it the Big 12 TV network, as certain Texas games—road games for instance—would have to be shown on it.

Now such a network would not make as much money for the Big 12's other nine institutions as the Big 10 network makes for its schools or a Pac-10 will make for theirs.

But it would add enough to the $14 million minimum that, say, Iowa State is guaranteed to make for it to be worthwhile. It may even be more than Texas makes on their Longhorn Network. And it would give the Big 12 a leg up on conferences that don't have a TV network (the SEC, ACC and Big East, for whom it is probably not viable unless those leagues expand).

That may help keep teams in the Big 12 conference, allow the Big 12 to expand down the line, and would definitely make the Big 12 more attractive if they have to raid teams from other conferences to replace other teams who leave.

But how is it possible without the Longhorns? Well, about as possible as it would be if the Longhorns didn't exist, weren't located in Texas, or were in another conference. Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Baylor are still in the Lone Star State, their fans are all over that state, and they have as much right to a network as the Longhorns do.

So, if the Texas cable and satellite affiliates carry the Lone Star Network on channel 15, they would carry the Big 12 Network on channel 14 or 16. Don't tell me that such a thing wouldn't be viable.

Outside Texas is where it would be trickier. But Missouri, with its 6 million people is a real market for such a venture. So is Oklahoma and Oklahoma State with their 4 million citizens. The same with Kansas and her 3 million citizens. Iowa State is not as big in that state as are the Hawkeyes, but there would be no justification for keeping the Big 12 Network away from those 3 million people.

Basically, the same reasons for wanting a Big 12 Network before still exist. Losing Nebraska's less than 2 million people and Colorado's moribund athletics program doesn't make it impossible.

Texas may not like it, but what would they have to say against it? Especially if the other schools market it as a way of remaining competitive, promoting their universities, and equalizing revenue?

Also, the Big 12 network could be the start of cooperation among these oft-feuding schools in other areas, such as research and academics.

Big 12 people, you bought yourselves 10 years with this deal, but you have to think about the future. Go ahead and put this Big 12 Network together. Even if the revenue isn't a whole lot, it is still more than what you had before and it will help you stay together, compete, and even be able to replace, say, Texas down the line if you have to.