On the final day of the Big 12 annual spring meetings, various conference officials were asked whether the ACC would get left behind in the college football arms race. Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis, who chairs the Big 12's expansion committee, doesn't believe that the ACC will be left out when it is all said and done.
No middling ACC football program left behind!
"I think the ACC has some members who play football at a very high level," Hargis said. "Television networks are going to want to televise their games. People want to see them. And they are, arguably, as good a basketball conference as there is.
"I don't think anybody gets left behind," he added.
Both the incoming and outgoing conference commissioners reiterated that the ACC will have a seat at the table.
"We need them. Absolutely. We've talked about with John Swofford - the other four conferences - to help them find a good bowl for his champion's team. We're not trying to exclude them. We're trying to include them."
"They have too many good programs in that conference. Everything is cyclical. You go back 14 years. Who's at the top? Miami and Florida State.
We do not want to exclude the ACC. We want to help the ACC. All of us."
Interestingly, the Tallahassee Democrats' Jim Lamar also noted that Chuck Neinas mentioned that if the eventual playoff model excluded other leagues like the ACC, "we'd be in front of Congress the next day." And really, he's right. The math just doesn't work. So long as Notre Dame remains a football independent and the ACC continues to be a fifth wheel, the final playoff format will not nearly be as simple as the Rose Bowl and Champions Bowl serving as de facto National Semifinals. Regardless of the revenue disparity between the ACC and the other four power conferences, this just isn't happening.
Speaking of said revenue disparity, the Big 12 announced that approximately $19 million will be distributed to each member for the 2011-12 season, a record haul. That's a difference of nearly $5 million from what ACC programs will receive for this season. However, the devil is in the details.
This year's Big 12 payouts are skewed after Texas A&M and Missouri defected to the SEC and were replaced by West Virginia and TCU. The end payout includes no money given to either Texas A&M and Missouri, and actually includes part of those two program's withdrawal fees. Another part of Texas A&M and Missouri's exit fees will go towards a $10 million loan the conference floated West Virginia in order to help the Mountaineers leave the Big East early.
I also found this note of interest:
Incoming members West Virginia and TCU will not begin sharing in conference revenues until the 2012-13 year concludes - and even then, they will receive 50 percent of what the other eight schools are given. The two new members won't earn a full share of revenues until 2016.
By 2016, the conference is expected to be paying its members roughly $20 mill a year with its new TV deal with ESPN and FOX, but you get a better idea of how costly it can be to switch conferences.