Source: Big 12 pushing projected value
As part of his strategy to keep the Big 12 Conference intact, commissioner Dan Beebe is trying to convince Texas -- the key -- and other schools that a 10-team model would still provide strong television revenue, a source familiar with Beebe's plan told ESPN's Joe Schad on Sunday.
Beebe has been told the loss earlier this week of Nebraska to the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pac-10 could diminish the value of the Big 12 by as little as 8 to 10 percent.
Beebe is stressing the value of sharing revenue with fewer schools and collecting and distributing the departure penalties of Nebraska and Colorado, the source said.
Secondary elements of the pitch include keeping natural rivalries intact and considering the interests of both fans and student-athletes.
Under the plan, Texas could still conceivably pursue its own TV deal, something it would not be able to do in the Pac-10.
Schools in favor of keeping the Big 12 together are suggesting the Pac-10's plan is based largely on projections and that it's unclear exactly when a Pac-10 network would launch and how successful it could be.
The boards of regents from Texas and Texas Tech each plan to weigh conference-affiliation plans Tuesday, while Oklahoma's board will discuss its future on Wednesday.
Texas A&M president Dr. R. Bowen Loftin released a statement on Sunday stating the school continues to evaluate its options.
"As Bill Byrne and I have said on several occasions, our desire was for the Big 12 Conference to continue," Loftin said in the statement. "With the departure of two universities from the conference last week, the Big 12 is certainly not what it was. We are aggressively exploring our options, one of which is for the Big 12 to continue in some form. We have also had extensive discussions with other conferences over the past two days. We continue to evaluate our options in a deliberate manner as we work toward a decision that is in the best long-term interests of Texas A&M."
A source with knowledge with Texas A&M's discussions told ESPN's Kelly Naqi that Texas A&M is going to make a decision that is in the best long-term view of university and is working independently at this point.
"We're not going to be swayed because everyone else is going in a different direction. We're not going to be a 'package deal' with anyone else and we are having discussions with some of the other Big 12 schools. We're being very deliberate, weighing the advantages of all three options (Big 12, Pac 10, SEC). I think that's why you're seeing the time table extended [past this coming Tuesday]."
By Texas state law, regents meetings are required to be posted 72 hours in advance of the actual meeting.
Officials from five Big 12 schools -- Kansas, Missouri, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor -- held a conference call on Saturday, The Kansas City Star reported. The schools agreed they would like to continue as members of the Big 12.
The five potential teams that could be left in the Big 12 if the exodus of five others continues to the Pac-10 would be wise to remain together, a conference commissioner with experience dealing with expansion told ESPN.com's Andy Katz.
The reason is simple: The five remaining schools would be due a huge payday and ultimately could salvage automatic berths to the NCAA tournament and possibly the BCS through expansion themselves.
The commissioner, who didn't want to be identified because he's involved in the ongoing realignment of college athletics, told Katz it would be critical for Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Baylor and Iowa State to maintain the Big 12 as an entity or corporation.
"The assets, the amount of money that they would be due by exit fees back to the corporation would be huge," said the commissioner. "Rather than dissolve the Big 12, they are better off as a Big 12 entity then moving to the Mountain West."
Colorado was the first to bolt the Big 12 last week, becoming the Pac-10's 11th member. Nebraska followed the next day, becoming the Big Ten's 12th member. Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M are all mulling a potential offer to join the Pac-10 to form the Pac-16. Texas A&M is also contemplating applying to become the SEC's 13th member.
But all of them aren't ruling out staying in the Big 12 with the aforementioned five schools for a 10-team league that in its current form would have more television value then a Pac-11 or Pac-12 with Utah as the 12th, industry and network sources told Katz.
Regardless, the commissioner said that the remaining Big 12 schools could be due millions from each departing member, depending on how the legal side of each school works out the exit fees. The fee percentages change if the school gives a two-year notice or a one-year notice. Nebraska and Colorado are already expected to join the new conferences for the fall of 2011. NCAA tournament appearance shares are paid going forward but stay with the conference if there is a change of membership. Schools don't take them with them as was the case when three Big East schools left for the ACC.
Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State and Baylor have so far appeared to be ready to stay together. But that's still a fluid situation and each member institution will still look for its best alternative if the other five depart, especially Kansas, which would be the most marketable to a power conference. A Kansas official told ESPN.com it has no plans on going to the Mountain West Conference and KU men's basketball coach Bill Self has gone on record that the Jayhawks will be in a BCS conference.
Meanwhile, the commissioner told Katz that new Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott is taking a gamble if he doesn't come back with Texas in an expansion model. If Scott is rebuffed by the Longhorns and thus by the rest of the Big 12 South schools and is forced to then just take Utah for the 12th member it would be a major disappointment. Industry sources told Katz that a Pac-12 that just adds Colorado and Utah doesn't increase the value that much for the league in a traditional model of seeking a new television deal. The best-case scenario for the Pac-10 is to come home with Texas, a Pac-16 and a new television network that would rival the Big Ten network.
Boise State also made a move last week, joining the Mountain West Conference for the 2011-12 season after divorcing itself from the WAC.
All 31 conference commissioners, including Scott, the Big Ten's Jim Delany and the Big 12's Beebe are scheduled to be in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Monday night for the start of Tuesday's three-day long Collegiate Commissioners Association's annual meetings.
The NCAA released a statement late Friday night that there is neither historical precedent nor legislative authority for the NCAA to be involved in conference matters such as conference realignment, adding that realignment and conference expansion is solely between the individual institutions and the conferences.
"Over the last two decades there have been about 30 conference realignments and none involved direct discussions with the NCAA," NCAA interim president Jim Isch said in the statement. "However, we are closely monitoring the developments and potential impacts. By doing so we ensure the most appropriate and responsive support to our membership."
Information from ESPN's Kelly Naqi and Joe Schad and ESPN.com's Andy Katz was used in this report.
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