“The University of Texas’ athletics programs will continue competing in the Big 12 Conference,” the school announced Monday in a statement.
Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin released the following statement:
“Texas A&M is a proud member of the Big 12 Conference and will continue to be affiliated with the conference in the future. As Athletics Director Bill Byrne and I have stated on numerous occasions, our hope and desire was for the Big 12 to continue. We are committed to the Big 12 and its success today and into the future.”
Oklahoma also announced its intention to stay in the Big 12.
Less than five hours ago, the departure of UT, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to the PAC 10 was described as “imminent”, though there were other reports at the same time that the situation was more fluid. Guess we know which it is. I’m a little surprised by this, on the grounds that UT’s regents were to meet tomorrow, and A&M’s regents had not yet even scheduled a meeting. Apparently, that pitch from Big XII Commish Dan Beebe was more compelling than I expected it to be.
Beebe’s pitch involves projections of a significant increase in the Big 12′s cable rights beginning in 2012. The numbers suggest an average payout per team at about $17 million, just under the $17.4 million per school the deep-pocketed SEC distributed.
“We have as much value as 10 here than just about any other conference out there,” Beebe said Friday. “If it’s about that value and that money, then that shouldn’t be part of the equation.
“If it’s about other factors that are outside of our control, then there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Big 12 schools heard an optimistic presentation in Kansas City during the spring meetings by Fox Sports Net suggesting a significant increase.
There is a catch: the Fox offer to the Big 12 would be long term, upward of 18 years, according to multiple sources. A great deal now might not be as lucrative in 2025.
The Big 12 could get even more cash in 2016, when the league’s broadcast TV rights package with ABC/ESPN expires. The departure of Colorado and Nebraska will add about $32 million to the conference in penalties over the next two years.
According to ESPN, UT will still be allowed to pursue its own TV network. Earlier reports had suggested that this would be a deal-killer for Texas A&M. Just goes to show you never really knew what was going on all this time. The questions I have now are one, will the PAC 10+1 add a 12th team so they can at least get a conference championship game, and two, will the Big 10 and its 12 members swap names with the Big XII and its 10 members? I suppose it’s possible the Big XII could hunt for a couple of new members to make its name accurate again – I have a statement from State Rep. Garnet Coleman advocating for the inclusion of UH and TCU – but that still doesn’t settle the Big 10 mess. All in due time, I suppose. Credit to the DMN for being first out with the story.