Conference Expansion: Big 12 Gets PAID, Expansion Rumors

Bevo gets paid, son. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Big 12 is set to join the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 as one of college athletics big money conferences. CBS Sports Dennis Dodd is reporting that the Big 12's next TV deal is worth a combined $2.6 billion between ESPN and Fox that goes through 2025. That's 13-years, $200 million annually and an average of $20 million per school.

Plus, for a conference that teetered on the brink last offseason, this additional clause will help to keep the Texas conference together.

Expected to be announced along with the new deal is an extension of the league's grant of rights. League CEOs had previously agreed to a six-year grant of rights that would allow the conference to keep a school's television rights if it left for a new league. The expectation is that the new grant of rights will be 13 years to match the TV deal. That provision essentially binds the at-times contentious league together for the term of the agreement.

If you can't keep up happy, tie up the school's media rights for 13 years as I always say.

The Big 12's soon-to-be official new TV media rights deal seems to throw future conference expansion into question. Louisville, long rumored to have one foot out the door and into the Big 12, probably doesn't add more than $20 million a year in added value to the conferences new TV deal which ostensibly makes every current member (and TCU and West Virginia) poorer for the addition.

That said, Andy Katz reported earlier on Monday that due to Louisville A.D. Tom Jurich's close ties to Marinatto, the former Big East commissioners exit may further push the Cardinals to consider the Big 12 if they can manage an invite.

Then there's these persistent rumors about current ACC members Florida State and/or Clemson bolting for the Big 12. Which, I get it -- you are both football schools, you hate the fact that the ACC is now a distant fifth in terms of TV revenue, I guess you don't like Karl Hess, or something.

But fans are not University presidents, and above all else, University presidents worry first and foremost about ...

Academics. The people spreading these rumors don't possess degrees from the universities whose futures they want to determine. To them, these are "teams," not "universities." Florida State is first and foremost a UNIVERSITY, not a football team. The individuals who ultimately would make a decision of this gravity - the university president and board of trustees - are highly educated people, many FSU graduates, who understand athletics is a piece (an important piece, but not the whole purpose) of an overall university mission.

[snip]

In language as simple as I can make it, NO UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT OR BOARD OF TRUSTEES WILL EVER LEAVE AN ASSOCIATION WITH SCHOOLS LIKE DUKE, UNC, WAKE FOREST, MIAMI, GEORGIA TECH, BOSTON COLLEGE AND VIRGINIA IN FAVOR OF ONE WITH TEXAS TECH, OKLAHOMA STATE, WEST VIRGINIA AND KANSAS STATE.

With due respect to the Big 12, the conference, prior to the last wave of expansion, had the lowest ranked academics of the power six (soon to be five) conferences. Replacing Texas A&M (USN&WR #58) and Missouri (#90) with TCU (#97) and West Virginia (#164) isn't doing a whole lot to class the place up academically either. Chadd Scott offers up a bunch of intelligent and well thought out reasons why Florida State and Clemson will never join the Big 12, but you can save yourself some time by stopping after reading point one.

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