A look inside the Big 12's new cash equality

June, 14, 2011
6/14/11
1:00
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For the Big 12's entire 15-year history, it divvied up 57 percent of the conference's cash equally. The other 43 percent, however, was handed out according to a number of factors, most notably a program's television appearances.

However, at the end of the Big 12's annual meetings, a year after losing two members, it announced that 76 percent of its conference revenue would now be shared equally. (More on what that means here.)

Beebe isn't ready, considering the numerous variables, to venture a guess as to how far the gap will be from the top-earning to the bottom-earning team, but while the percentage of revenue shared equally rises, I'd expect the difference in actual dollars to remain somewhat constant.

So, instead of the $12 million versus $8 million we've seen in recent years, think somewhere along the lines of $22 million versus $17 million or more in the future.

"We’re going to have to see," Beebe told ESPN.com in a recent interview.

Now that all of the Big 12 home games will be televised, bonuses (or unit values, Beebe called them) will be given to teams who earn appearances on over-the-air television, like games on ABC or Fox versus Fox Sports Net, ESPN or FX.

"There were a number of appearances that Nebraska and Colorado had on ABC and where those appearances go will be interesting," he said. "Some schools like Texas and Oklahoma have already maxed out on the appearances, so they’re going to have to go to somewhere else, and those are the games that we pay, that we provide some money, some unit values, for getting on the broadcast."

The idea to amend the Big 12's policy began when the television negotiating committee recommended it to the rest of the conference. That group, which helped negotiate the recent contract with Fox, was made up of two presidents and three athletic directors across the Big 12. The committee members:
  • Iowa State president Greg Geoffroy
  • Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis
  • Missouri AD Mike Alden
  • Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione
  • Texas AD DeLoss Dodds

With a whole lot more money on the way, the league chose to reassess how it distributed its revenue.

"[The league's members] looked at all different models and decided this was the one that would best accommodate the conference," Beebe said.

The gap will be hard to project, specifically because nonconference schedules fluctuate from year to year, and some broadcasts aren't selected until the season begins, and are tallied up after the year.

Bowl expense reimbursements can also factor into the gap between the highest- and lowest-earning teams in the Big 12, Beebe said.

"It was unanimous; it sailed through pretty easily," Beebe said. "It’s another demonstration, like we’ve said about our television agreement and other things that we’re doing, of how solid this conference is, and how much their probably hasn’t been in the history of the conference, this type of unity and appreciation for each other."

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