Big Ten isn't done growing

June 16, 2010
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If Big 12 Conference officials think their problems are behind them, they’re kidding themselves.

And the sweetheart deal Big 12 officials gave the University of Texas (and Oklahoma) may be the conference’s biggest undoing.

How long are the likes of Missouri, Kansas, Texas Tech and others supposed to play the patsies for the big two? No aspiring big-time college athletic program can live like that.

Can’t recruit like that, can’t build for the future like that, can’t survive like that.

The Big 12 has made things so inequitable (financially and otherwise) for the other schools left in the conference, those schools have become easy pickings for the likes of the Big Ten, which clearly thinks this is just a lull in the battle for big conference supremacy, as well as the Pac 10. Even inclusion in a smaller conference will begin to look better to the likes of Kansas and Missouri than staying in the uneven Big 12 structure.

The Big 12 has promised Texas and Oklahoma an oversized share of conference TV revenue, an annual sum sports business experts say could reach $20 million. Plus, Texas maintains the rights to start its own cable TV network. Texas asked the Pac 10 for a similar deal, and Pac 10 officials smartly said no.

Imagine for a moment, the Big Ten announcing it was going to give Michigan and Ohio State (already financial behemoths) a larger share of the conference's TV and other shared money, plus give them the rights to have their own media deals. That would cause more than a little angst on the IU and Purdue campuses.

That sort of inequity makes it impossible to compete. And athletes join teams in conferences where they can truly compete.

A Big Ten official in Chicago reminded me that the conference’s time line for expansion was 12 to 18 months. That means one year from now. The message was loud and clear. The Big Ten isn’t standing pat after plucking Nebraska out of the Big 12 to grow to 12 teams.

The Pac 10, under aggressive commissioner Larry Scott, isn’t done either.

You can bet the remaining Big 12 schools heard Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany address equality within the league last week.

"We wouldn't want anyone who didn't want equality," Delany said. "There will be a point where everything is made equal and everyone is made whole."

Delany added that revenue sharing, from television rights fee deals all the way to ticket sales, is an important component of the Big Ten. Competition, Delany said, is good for everyone involved.

Do you think Delany's words' resonated with many of the Big 12 schools, and probably institutions far beyond that conference? You bet.

So when the likes of Missouri or one or two of the other Big 12 schools jump, it won’t be a matter of if Texas and Oklahoma will go, but where. And then, Texas may not be in a position to play the loan shark, twisting the arms of weaker schools and extorting money out of them at will.

Big 12 officials think by securing Texas and Oklahoma, they have averted a certain doomsday. All they've managed to do is light a longer fuse.

In three years time, the college sports landscape will look very different than it does now.

Remember this; During the most recent fiscal year, only 12 of 120 NCAA Division I-A school's athletic departments broke even or made money, according to The Knight Commission, a Washington, D.C., group formed by university presidents in 1989 to push for reform in college athletics.

So I'm guessing Delany's call for equity is ringing especially loud right about now.

And it will ring louder yet as the flawed structure of the Big 12 unfolds.


  • Propaganda
    I can see that objectivity is a foreign concept in Big 10 land! Schools like Iowa State, Baylor, K-State and Texas Tech and Mizzou will be getting circa 17 million per year to stay in the Big 12. They also all have the right to start their own networks as well.

    None of those teams could find such a sweetheart deal anywhere else. Especially the Big 10.
    • Crony
      Said like a true Orangeblood or Sooner.
    • Big 12 is Dying
      What are you stupid? Those teams would get $20 million today in the Big Ten. Furthermore, they would likely get more as their markets are added. The Big Ten model is stronger and more stable. The Big 12 is on a path to slow death...regardless of whether or not the phantom TV deal Beebe promoted ever happens. Wait until the next round when the Big Ten, SEC, et al get larger ones. No one in the Big 12 will make as much as the Big Ten or SEC moving forward. The product is weaker and the conference is unbalanced. It will be dead in ten years.
    • pasties?
      "play the pasties for the big two" - quite a visual!
    • I got your objectivity right here.

      For the 2008-2009 school year the Big 12 revenue share for your schools was:
      Iowa State $8.9 million
      Baylor $9.1 million
      Kansas State $8.4 million
      Texas Tech $9.2 million
      Missouri $10.0 million

      And the Iowa State chancellor has now estimated that with the loss of Nebraska and Colorado (thereby increasing the per share payout) and a hopefully successful TV network (minus the new Texas and Oklahoma stipend) that Iowa State's share would increase by $1.5 to $2.0 million per year. So your looking at the weak sisters making around $9 to $12 million while Texas and Oklahoma make $19 to $22 million.

      As for your suggestion that Iowa State or Kansas State could start their own TV network and make up the difference ... well that is so laughable and founded in such absolute economic fantasy that it's best if we just pretend that you hadn't written it.
    • Knight Commission report?

      Do you have a link to the Knight Commission report regarding which athletic departments made money?
    • get real
      The $17 million by other Big 12 schools will never be realized. Whatever they bring in won't be anywhere near the Sooners and Longhorns. Strong-armed isn't too strong a word to use when talking about what Texas did. And the other schools won't stand for it long term.
    • Knight Commission study
      Here's a link to one of the key Knight Commission studies:

      I have a call into the Knight Commission trying to get another pertinent study, and if and when I get that, I'll pass it along. But the above link should have most of what anyone interested in the topic is looking for. Thanks for reading The Score.
    • rather bizarre to ignore Missouri
      It's still bizarre that Nebraska was the selection. I can't help but think Big 10 officials are mired in an 1985-95 college football mindset when Huskers ruled and Mizzou was awlful, but that's ignoring so much more (esp. pop. demographics). Missouri with 31,000+ students on one comprehensive campus, 60000+ on 4, AAU affiliation, great athletic facilities, ranked in nearly every sport in past few years, competitive in BOTH basketball and football (not to mention wrestling, soccer, swimming, baseball, softball,etc.), 6 million people in the state, only Div. I FB school, two large media markets, 7 new media markets in all, borders with two Big 10 states, rivalry with one school (Illinois) and regular series with others throughout history. While perhaps Nubs selction was more based on the age of those doing the selection, one would think Missouri is still the most obvious (non-ND) target in the future. In fact, it's the only one that meets the criteria bandied about -- and for godsakes, it's the only one mentioned that's not seperated by mountains from the rest of the conference (Maryland?....really?).
      • well said
        Well said, William. I too think Mizzou makes a good candidate for the Big Ten. I can't help but think all the talk of the Big Ten rejecting Missouri is mere posturing. Hope all works out in Tiger-land, b/c I think Big 12 is setting themselves up for a tumble, and Texas won't be in the position they are now to dictate their financial terms.
      • not surprised
        Why are people surprised at the pick of Nebraska over Missouri? I've worked all over the country, and everywhere I go, I always meet die-hard Nebraska fans, who never miss a game. During my 30 years in the workforce, not once have I met a die-hard Mizzou fan. I've met Missouri graduates, but not one die-hard sports fan. This is all about $$$, as is most things. The fact is, Nebraska brings more eyes to tv's nationwide than Missouri. That's the reason.
        • Nebraska,where N stands for knowledge
          It doesn't matter how many eyes around the nation because that doesn't increase TV revenues that much. You get pennies for out of market viewers whereas you get dollars for in market, obviously exaggerating but you get the point. Nebraska has around 2 million people whereas Missouri has 6 million. If I am not mistaken it is 70 cents in market and 10 cents out of market for the network per subscription.
        • Big Ten Needs to move now
          As an outsider looking in, I think the Big Ten made a mistake taking Nebraska. They should have taken Missouri. If Missouri was a target, the Big Ten is now inadverently pushing them into a new contract that will have such a huge buyout that they may be off the market.

          In the end, it does not matter to me. I do not have a dog in this fight, but if the Big Ten was wise, they would offer Missouri right now even with a reduced payout over a few years to secure them and to knock the Big 12 back a notch. The Big Ten could eliminate some competition and possibly secure Texas by taking Missouri right now.

          Just a thought.
        • Big Ten should have taken MU over NU
          I know Nebraska has the "brand" that supposedly everyone wanted but what else do they bring to our Big Ten? Nothing.

          MU brings St Louis(21st market), Kansas City(31st market), Springfield(top 100 market), Columbia-Jefferson City(top 100 market), etc...MU brings a world renowned J-School which would have competed with Northwestern...MU brings a top research university...MU brings several top sports(basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, wrestling, etc...)along with their football team which right now is the equal of NU...

          I think that eventually MU ends up in the Big Ten.
        • Pick up Mizzou now!!!!
          Now is the time to strike to get Missouri while the Big Ten can! Make the offer now before they get tied up for 18 years! I'm sure they will accept any offer that the Big Ten throws at them right now!

          St Louis & Kansas City are MAJOR Omaha? Nebraska football fans are fanatics that's for sure but Missouri brings more to the conference than Nebraska.

          Offer Mizzou now!!!!!
        • TV Markets

          Let me help you out here a little bit about tv markets.

          21. St Louis, MO
          31. Kansas City, MO
          74. Springfield, MO
          76. Omaha, NE
          106. Lincoln-Hasting-Kearney, NE
          137. Columbia-Jefferson City, MO
          201. St Joseph, MO

          Missouri - 18th in population
          Nebraska - 39th in population

          Minnesota, Missouri, and Indiana being the three fastest growing States in the midwest region.

          Hope that helps.
        • Mizzou
          I don't understand the Big10's choice of Nebraska either. Nebraska is traditionally stronger in FB, which seems to be driving this, but that's no longer true. Mizzou is stronger in most other factors - media markets, population, other sports especially bball, and has existing rivalries (w/ Illinois).
        • Mizzou never a Big 10 candidate
          Mizzou was looked at when the Big 10 added Penn State, and turned down due to low academics despite being an AAU school. While I am not sure Nebraska has much better academics than Mizzou - the reality is Nebraska fans always sell out their stadium - and just about everyone else's and Mizzou fans never sell out in Columbia. And St. Louis already has the Big 10 network and does not need Mizzou to get into that TV market. Mizzou was considered this time too - but they dont get enough fan support

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