Guerin Emig: Big 12 positioned to survive without OU and Texas, but can it advance? | OSU Sports Supplementary

IRVING, Texas — The Big 12 conference, known for escaping ruin, is back.

“The conference will distribute $42.6 million to each member institution,” Big 12 Chairman and Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec announced at the end of the league’s spring meetings on Friday. “That’s a 20% increase over last year’s distribution and a 9% distribution over pre-pandemic levels.”

The pandemic was supposed to blow an irreparable hole in the college sports business, including the Big 12. But then everyone kept playing football and men’s basketball, TV stations kept paying for it. stream these matches and everyone got rich like never before.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby hailed the cast as a “record” and projected the payout could reach $50 million by the end of the Big 12’s current media deal in 2025.

It’s the Big 12 doing what they do best – surviving and advancing one way or another.

This happened after the league’s big (non-)expansion fiasco in 2016, after Oklahoma and Texas nearly led an exodus to the Pac-12 in 2011, and after Texas A&M, the Nebraska, Missouri and Colorado escaped from the conference in 2011-12.

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Now it’s OU and Texas who want out. Both behemoths are heading to the SEC by July 1, 2025.

And even if BYU arrives in fall 23 and Cincinnati, Houston and UCF jump on board this fall or next, we wonder how many times the Big 12 can still get away with it.

Introducing doubt was not having a good Friday.

“We’re in a very strong position today,” Schovanec said while noting that those who study such things have found the future Big 12 to be well received among 18-44 year olds.

“There’s been a slight dip in the perception of the league,” Schovanec said of OU and Texas’ impending departures. “I think it’s going to be very temporary.”

Bowlsby touted his league’s recent prowess in bowling games, back-to-back national basketball championships and various spring athletic accomplishments.

“We do what you have to do to compete at a high level and get attention,” he said. “It’s a good base.”

Yes, that’s true, especially considering that the first deal for Bowlsby’s successor, who is expected to be announced during the Big 12 football media days on July 13-14, will be to muster strength for contract negotiations for the next Big 12 media rights contract. from 2025.

“Television rights are only worth what anyone will pay for it,” Bowlsby said. “It is too early to predict whether the next rounds of negotiations will be much more or a little more or whether they will be flat. It will depend on the appetite at that time.

The Big 12 better hope that ESPN, Fox, CBS or even Hulu’s appetite for Big 12 sports content is at the level of the Chiefs’ offensive line come suppertime. Otherwise, the league risks being swallowed up by the SEC and the Big Ten.

The viability of a conference used to be its own dynamic. It has thrived or floundered regardless of the national landscape. The Big 12 has failed multiple times over the past decade regardless of what the SEC and the Big Ten were doing.

Then the SEC and Big Ten began to dominate college sports. The SEC launched its football machine, the Big Ten penetrated major media markets beyond its Upper Midwest roots, the media contracts of both leagues reflected this success on the field and the living room viewership, and the two leagues started printing money.

It’s not like that’s going to change, especially with OU and Texas SEC-bound.

Data research firm Navigate recently projected Power 5 conference payouts by 2029. The SEC projection for 2029 was $105 million per member school. The Big Ten was $94.5 million.

The Big 12 was $51.9 million, which also trailed the ACC ($55.3 million) and Pac-12 ($56.5 million).

The Big 12 survives in this scenario. It even makes a lot of money.

But this will all be relative to the Power 2 which is circling the pack.

When asked this week if we’re stepping out of history worrying about the looming chasm between the SEC, the Big Ten and the Big 12, Oklahoma State athletic director Chad Weiberg said, “Hey Well no. I think that’s definitely a concern. We know our competitive success is on par with anyone. What remains to be seen is how the market will value this. We will find out in the next few years. »

Asked about the sinkhole on Friday, Bowlsby said: “There are still unknowns. They both distribute more than us (the SEC at $54.6 million by school and the Big Ten up to $49 million). There is no difference of light years. We were the third highest cast, and I think we will stay there for the foreseeable future.

Maybe. It’s going to be tight after OU and Texas leave.

Either way, it’s more about keeping track of the SEC and the Big Ten than staying ahead of the ACC and the Pac-12.

The ACC and the Pac-12 worry about it too, and that without losing Clemson and USC.

“Intuitively you say they (OU and Texas) are two cowbells that are gone and they’re going to go up in value with them,” Bowlsby said. “We’re also going to have more inventory due to having 12 teams rather than 10 (after the new arrivals have arrived). And we’ve added good quality with good markets and good recruiting opportunities.

“I’m not ready to say we’re going to lose 50% of our value.”

That was the initial scare at the announcement of OU and Texas intentions. The earthquake at the Big 12 headquarters has since stopped. There are no more worries about becoming a destitute or even non-existent conference.

The Big 12 will survive this. It’s personalized.

Whether that moves forward this time is questionable at best.

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