Big 12 stands pat and touts unity, but is it built to last?
The Associated Press - October 19, 2016 10:31 am
The 10 schools that make up the Big 12 are bound together by a deal committing their television rights to the conference through the 2024-25 school year.
That grant of rights ends with the expiration of the conference’s $2.6 billion television contract with Fox and ESPN. The question hanging over the Big 12 has always been: When that TV deal runs out, will the conference end, too? Will Texas and Oklahoma, the conference’s flagship programs, remain satisfied with being the Big 12’s big dogs, or will they seek potentially sweeter deals elsewhere.
Expansion wasn’t going to change that, so the Big 12 declined on Monday to add two schools from a group of 11 that included BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and Connecticut. The conference’s leaders then tried their best to put forth a unified front and positive outlook for the future.
“No one’s looking to walk away from this conference,” said Oklahoma President David Boren, the chairman of the Big 12’s board of directors. “Any feelings to the contrary is just mistaken. They don’t understand the strong commitment that we all have to it.”
Claiming commitment is nice. A legally binding contract is better, but until the Big 12 starts negotiating another television deal or a revision to the current one, locking up the conference beyond 2025 is not a discussion that is taking place, Boren said.
The Associated Press