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June 5th

Big 12 revenue agreement gives more to the “Forgotten Five”

Isn’t there some saying about trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?

That was the feel one could take from the Big 12’s spring meetings, in which it was announced that members would receive an equal distribution of 76% of the television revenues, up from a 57% equal distribution in year’s past.

A year ago, the Big 12 was on the brink of extinction, with the “Forgotten Five” – Kansas, Missouri, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State - agreeing to allow Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma to take a bigger share of revenue in exchange for not bolting the league.

Now, with a new $1.17 billion deal with Fox for cable rights taking effect in 2012, there are more millions to spread around, so the bigger schools were willing to give the lesser schools a bigger share. “The important thing is we’re dealing with a lot more revenue, so everybody feels good about the contract, and giving us the flexibility and resources to be more competitive,” Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton told reporters at the Big 12 spring meetings. “And there’s also growing recognition that to be a strong conference, we’ve got to have every member strong and competitive in an ongoing basis in all sports.”

Lost in the hand-holding and singing of kumbaya, though, are some realities.

While Texas and Oklahoma have agreed to allow the equal distribution to go up from 57% to 76%, there remains 24% of the television revenue which will not be equally distributed (as will be the case with the Pac-12). The remaining 24% will be distributed based on the number of television appearances, quality of competition, and willingness to move games to accomodate television (translation: Texas v. anybody will generate more revenue for Texas; Kansas State v. Northwestern Teacher’s College will generate nothing for the Wildcats except a better chance at accumulating six wins and a bowl bid).

Plus, the new agreement does not affect “third-tier” rights to games. This means that the Texas Network, with its multi-million dollar deal with ESPN, will go on churning up dollars for the Longhorns, while the Forgotten Five try to generate whatever they can out of an Iowa State / Kansas game which the networks pass on televising.

“It’s very significant,” said Missouri’s Deaton. “We’re all faced with multiple fiscal challenges. This enables us to make sure we have the right programs in place for all of our student-athletes.”

Nice talk from an athletic director who wanted to bolt for the Big Ten (recall that it was Missouri’s lobbying for admission to the Big Ten which helped crank up the expansion talk last spring), but the fact remains that Nebraska, as a member of the Big Ten, and Colorado, as a member of the Pac-12, will be earning considerable more dollars than their former rivals – and will be playing on a much more balanced financial field.

Enjoy that 76%, Forgotten Five, while watching Texas and Oklahoma continue to get bigger and bigger, stronger and stronger, and more and more dominant …

 

June 2nd

BCS executive director to meet with Justice Department

Bill Hancock, the executive director of the Bowl Championship Series, will voluntarily meet with the Justice Department later this month.

“I still believe the government has more important things to do, but I’m happy to talk about the benefits of the BCS every chance I get,” Hancock told ESPN. “We see this as an opportunity to tell them why this has been created, how it works, and the benefits it has brought to the game. And to answer all their questions.”

Hancock doesn’t see any chance that there will be a finding that the BCS is in violation of antitrust laws. “I am confident (the BCS selection process) follows the law,” said Hancock. “I’m not an attorney, but the fact is that antitrust is to protect the consumer against lack of access and a lack of competition. The BCS provides more football to the consumer than ever before, including a guaranteed No. 1 v. No. 2, and the access for the non-AQ’s (automatic qualifiers) is far greater than ever before. There’s no question the access is much better.”

While fans of TCU, Boise State, Hawai’i, Utah, BYU et al., teams which have not been allowed into the championship game in recent years may disagree with Hancock’s access argument, at the end of the day, practicality might rule the day.

“If the conferences are prohibited from coming together to create a BCS, then they would also be prohibited from creating anything else, like a playoff,” argued Hancock. “So if the BCS goes away, then the most likely scenario is a return to the old bowl system, where there’s not a guarantee of a meeting between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams.”

We’ll see. Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff has said that he plans to file an antitrust lawsuit in June against the BCS.

Last check of the calendar … it’s now June.

June 1st

Game times set for CSU and Utah games

The game times have been set Colorado two “rivals” – one old; one new.

The Colorado athletic department has announced that the Colorado/Colorado State game on September 17th will kickoff at 11:30 a.m., while the regular season finale against Utah in Salt Lake City will kickoff at 1:30 the day after Thanksgiving. Both games will be shown nationally by FSN.

The Colorado/Colorado State game, known the last six years as the Cinch Jeans Rocky Mountain Showdown, will be played before a national or regional television audience for the 17th consecutive year. Despite the insistence by Ram fans that they have drawn closer to the Buffs in terms of quality of play in the last decade or so, the fact remains that Colorado owns an 11-5 (68.5%) edge since the television streak began, a 17-6 (73.9%) advantage since the series was resumed in 1983, and a 60-20-2 (74.3%) lead overall.

The downside of having a nationally televised game? Once again being forced to a morning kickoff …. Yuck.

The Colorado/Utah game will be played in the afternoon, at 1:30, also shown nationally on FSN. The “new” rival is actually one of Colorado’s oldest and most bitter. The Buffs own a 30-24-3 all-time edge, with the last game being played in Salt Lake City in 1962. In games played at Utah, the Utes hold a 15-14-2 advantage.

The addition of the CSU and Utah games to the television schedule, Colorado now has four games which Buff fans will be know will be on television: September 3rd @Hawai’i, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN2); September 10th v. Colorado State (Denver), 11:30 a.m. (FSN); November 4th (Friday) v. USC, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN2); and November 25th (Friday) @ Utah, 1:30 p.m. (FSN).

Any number of other games, particularly the California home game and the Ohio State road game, should be chosen for television (NCAA willing, with regard to the Ohio State game). Other Pac-12 games will also likely be televised, but Buff fans may not know until 12 days before the game, as networks chose the games they wish to televise.

Other Pac-12 televised games of note …

September 3rd – Minnesota @ USC – ABC

                               – UCLA @ Houston – FSN

                               – Oregon v. LSU (@ Arlington, Texas) – ABC

September 8th (Thurs.) – Arizona @ Oklahoma State – ESPN

September 9th (Friday) – Missouri @ Arizona State – ESPN

September 10th – Nevada @ Oregon – FX

                                  – Utah @ USC – Versus

September 17th – Texas @ UCLA – ABC/ESPN

                                  – Stanford @ Arizona – ESPN

                                  – Utah @ BYU – ESPN2

September 24th – Oregon @ Arizona – ESPN or ESPN2

                                  – USC @ Arizona State – ESPN or ESPN2

October 6th (Thurs.) – California @ Oregon – ESPN

October 13th (Thurs.) – USC @ California – ESPN

October 20th (Thurs.) – UCLA @ Arizona – ESPN

October 29th – Stanford @ USC – ABC

November 19th – USC @ Oregon – ABC

November 25th (Friday) – California @ Arizona State – ESPN

November 26th – Notre Dame @ Stanford – ABC or ESPN

                                 UCLA @ USC – FSN

December 2nd (Friday) – Pac-12 Championship – Fox

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