It was announced this morning that the Texas Longhorns, along with the coat tail riding contingent of Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, have decided to accept the Big 12’s proposal and stay in the Big 12.
Here’s the thing, who doesn’t believe that the Longhorns were simply angling for more money and a better shot at getting their own network all along?
Think about it, not only did the money pot get bigger with the exodus of both Colorado and Nebraska, who will be forced to pay $17 million each for their transgressions, but the introduction of the league’s intent to allow institutions to pursue their own separate television deal had to be the cherry on top for the Longhorns.
It’s no secret that the Longhorns wanted to pursue their own network—a la the YES Network of the New York Yankees—but the Big 12 didn’t seem open to that possibility. Dan Beebe skirted the issue time and again while, all the time, Texas was fuming and trying to figure out how to make it happen.
Enter the rumors of a Big Ten or Pac-10 raid of the Big 12 and VOILA!, there’s enough leverage to make the Big 12 and Dan Beebe rethink their stance on how revenue is distributed and how much liberality they will give each team in pursuing their own method of making money.
As an added bonus, both Nebraska and Colorado got scared silly enough to leave altogether. By doing so, the Big 12 North just got a lot less competitive and the money to be gained from any deals struck hence forward just got sweeter.
All of this led me to wonder, if Texas wasn’t just playing a very deceptive game of poker with Dan Beebe from the start?
In truth, most of what any of us heard about the expansion deals came from one of a few random sources, none of whom were in a position to make a decision on the fate of Texas or the Big 12.
Orangebloods.com set off this firestorm early on and by last Friday it was at a full blaze as the sports world essentially jumped on the story and ran.
Seriously, think long and hard about it, what did any of us read about Texas, the Big 12, or the Pac-10’s invitation to the Longhorns that did not originate from Orangeblood’s, Chip Brown? He was the primary source in just about every breaking news story regarding this situation and he is, of course, the source of the most recent news that Texas will stay in the Big 12 today.
Despite a conflicting report offered by ESPN’s Joe Schad, that Texas will bolt for the Pac-10 for the academic prestige over the money, it makes sense that the Big 12 stay configured as a ten team league than go to a 16 team Pac-10 where their financial options would be somewhat restrained.
The Pac-10 is looking to expand their market share in hopes of securing more revenue from television. However, there is no deal in place yet, and any team joining the Pac-10 is doing so on good faith—nothing more.
Further, the Pac-10 is not going to allow Texas to pursue a Longhorn Network if they come over which—in my opinion—is what they truly want to do.
So, why join and split the money 16 ways, deny your program the option of netting an additional$3-5 million in television revenue through developing your own network, and risk disrupting your fanbase, just to join with the Pac-10 for academic reasons?
It just doesn’t make sense.
Now, I admit, all of this conjecture could be proved wrong a day or so from now, but for the moment, it makes more sense for the Big 12 to stay together than break apart.