NU's Tom Osborne talks Big 12 vs. Big Ten

June, 12, 2012
6/12/12
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It's been over two years since Nebraska announced its intentions to leave the Big 12 for the Big Ten, and nearly a year since it became official.

After a full school year in the Huskers' new league, athletic director Tom Osborne sat down with the Lincoln Journal-Star to look back on Year 1 in the Big Ten, and of course, the Big 12 came up.
LJS: Now that you’ve been in both Big 12 and Big Ten meeting rooms, how would you compare how each conference goes about making decisions?

TO: "I think in the Big Ten there’s more collegiality. There’s probably a little bit greater concern for the overall welfare of the conference, whereas in the Big 12 there’s probably a little bit more emphasis on self-interest. And part of that stems from the way revenues are divided. In the Big 12, revenues were split unequally, depending on how many times you were on television and how well your teams did on the national stage, you got a bigger slice of the pie. From the Big Ten, it’s actually a little bit the reverse.

“I think the four or five teams that have the best attendance record in football actually contribute a pool of money to the teams that are less well off. It’s not a huge amount, but it’s kind of a reverse perspective to what the Big 12 has been doing for many years.”

That's what we've heard for a long time and, considering the motivations of all involved, it makes sense.

You can certainly defend equal and unequal revenue sharing, but one of the products of equal revenue sharing would certainly be a higher level of collegiality. If it's going to be good for the group, it's easy to see why a school like Baylor or Iowa State would be more apt to cede to Oklahoma or Texas when it comes to exposure, a factor that could influence each team's take from the conference pie.

To be fair, there's a much higher level of collegiality now in the Big 12 than there was when Osborne and the Huskers left, but I highly doubt it's on the level of the Big Ten.

Is that good or bad? Should Texas get the same amount of money from conference revenue as Iowa State?

It's just a different model, and Osborne (whose school long supported unequal revenue sharing in the Big 12, by the way) has taken notice.

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