June 15th, 2010

red down arrow

Short Sighted Little X Lives to Die Another Day

The University of Texas agreed to remain a member of the Big 12, less than a week after two schools abandoned the conference.

The Longhorns will stay in the Big 12 after Commissioner Dan Beebe agreed to “drastically” increase television payouts to Texas and allow the school to set up and profit from its own local television network, the New York Times reported today.

“There’s certainly more television-driven decision making,” said Rick Horrow, a sports consultant who has helped negotiate more than 100 public/private stadium-finance agreements. “The individual schools will have much more leverage in the future because of this process.”

Texas will hold a conference call with reporters later today, the school said in a two-sentence statement on their website announcing the decision. A short time later, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State also pledged their futures to the Big 12. The other members of the conference are Texas Tech, Kansas, Missouri, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor.

The University of Nebraska three days ago said it will quit the Big 12 to become the 12th member of the Big Ten conference starting July 1, 2011. A day earlier, the University of Colorado said it will leave the conference for the Pacific-10.

Under a new cable TV accord with Fox Sports, Texas may receive about $20 million a year, the Dallas Morning News reported on its website. A Longhorns-owned local network may eventually generate another $5 million, it said.

The Pac-10 made offers to Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, according to ESPN.  Had the Longhorns accepted an invitation to join the Pac- 10, the conference was expected to have begun its own television network.  As a result, Texas couldn’t have operated its own local network, costing the school millions of dollars every year, the report said.

ESPN has reported that the University of Utah will leave the Mountain West Conference for the the Pac-10. Boise State University joined the Mountain West Conference last week.