About face: Texas likely to stay in Big 12

They say that money is the root of all evil. It’s also the reason why Texas might wind up staying in the Big 12 after all.

In a rather surprising turn of events, it appears as though Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has saved the conference by constructing a TV deal that could pay Texas upwards of $25 million per year.

ESPN.com has the details:

Texas stands to earn between $20 million and $25 million annually in television revenue in the reworked deal, including money from its own network, according to Orangebloods.com.

The Longhorns network figures to generate between $3 million and $5 million, according to the report. Because the Big 12 has unequal revenue sharing, the deal will mean more money for Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma, who all would receive at least $20 million annually from the new deal.

The other seven schools in the Big 12 would make between $14 million and $17 million, doubling what they currently receive in TV revenue.

Assuming this deal gets done, this would be a big win for all parties involved. Beebe keeps the Big 12 from completely imploding, the remaining 10 schools in the conference increase their TV revenue and rivals like Texas and Texas A&M won’t split. (Before this report surfaced, the Longhorns seemed destined for the Pac-10, while A&M was likely to join the SEC.)

Considering the events that have transpired up to this point, it is surprising that Texas is on the verge of staying in the Big 12. But what isn’t surprising is why they inevitably might stay.

Money was going to win out in the end here. As I wrote earlier today, expansion has always been about money. The schools that were considering expansion were doing so because they want to increase revenue and joining other conferences was a way for them to do that. But if Beebe found a way to generate more TV revenue (which it looks like he did), then there was no reason for Texas to join the Pac-10 or any other conference for that matter.

Personally, I think this is good news. College football is about tradition and rivalries and I thought it was absurd for programs like Texas and Texas A&M to split. I also hated the idea of a 16-team Pac-10 with no conference championship game, which was one of the proposed scenarios last week. Sure, the conference still lost Nebraska and Colorado, but most of the Big 12 will stay intact and as long as Beebe’s plan comes to fruition, I think everybody wins.


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