Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Beebe talks school exits, Big 12 future
By ESPN.com staff
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe's teleconference just closed, and here are a few of the notable items discussed:
- The difference in withdrawal fees between Nebraska and Colorado stems from both projections and previously stated intentions. "It's somewhat based upon the projections over two years of what each institution has historically earned. Nebraska has earned more revenue based on television appearances and bowl appearances. That's one feature of it," Beebe said. "Another feature of it is the result of two types of situations. Colorado originally was indicating it was going to stay in for two years and that was something we had to work through." Some call that unfair. I call it capitalism. I understand why the Big Ten and SEC share equally, and it works for them, but it's a ridiculous assumption that the Big 12 employing unequal revenue sharing is somehow tearing the league apart. This is what the league agreed on. It's nothing new.
- How the money ($16.1 million) will be distributed is still up for discussion at a board meeting next month. It may be divvied up equally. It may be distributed according to the revenue formula. That has yet to be finalized.
- Beebe confirmed that he still plans to get Texas A&M the $20 million it's demanding as part of a deal that Texas and Oklahoma dismissed. He did not sound concerned that the failure to do so would mean a significant discord between schools affiliated with the Big 12, citing an expressed strong desire to exist as a 10-team league.
- The 2011 conference schedule is still being finalized. Proposed schedules for a 10-team and an 11-team league had to be drawn up and were passed around to schools. Obviously, the Big 12 will play a round robin schedule, but the timing of games is still in flux.
- Also, schools have expressed a desire to play on the now-vacated championship weekend, including games in Arlington. Beebe could offer no details on who, but in my opinion, moving a rivalry game like Texas-Texas A&M to Cowboys Stadium on Championship Weekend would be a great option and almost a sure sellout every year. Sure, you might have to end the Thanksgiving tradition and move the game off campus, but after all the realignment fracas, it's pretty obvious that money trumps tradition more often than anyone would like to admit.
- Nebraska will only get its $500,000 back if two teams from the Big 12 qualify for the BCS. It seems like somewhat of a formality now with three teams currently in the Top 10, but after national title contender Oklahoma took a nosedive into the Sun Bowl last season, you never know. College football's unpredictable like that. I've heard that's a reason people like it.
- I get asked this about every week in a chat or in my mailbag, so I'll reiterate it: The Big 12 is not considering expansion. That means you, TCU, Houston, BYU, Air Force, New Mexico and North Dakota State. Sorry. "I'm reflecting my membership's desire, and it's my own feeling, too," Beebe said. "All that we hear from our membership institutions at meetings and individually is how excited they are with a 10-member conference." He's not blowing smoke there. It is blowing smoke to suggest that the Big 12 is as good without Nebraska, but there are advantages to having 10 teams. One, the "true" conference champion can emerge since everyone plays everyone. The coaches are in favor of that. They voted 12-0 in opposition of a championship game. Money won, of course. But now, the Big 12 seems likely to land two BCS bids with a higher frequency. Ask the Big Ten. Plenty of times a Big 12 championship game loser would be relegated to the Cotton Bowl or lower when they were in position for a BCS bowl heading into Championship Weekend.
- The two sides never came close to taking it to court. Nobody wanted that.
- Reported projections of $35-40 million being collected in withdrawal fees were too high. "[The Big 12] thought it should be $30 [million], [the schools] thought it should be zero," Beebe said. "So that's where we started." They ended up at, like we mentioned above, $16.1 million.
- Changing bowl contracts will be ironed out in the future with only 10 teams to choose from instead of 12.
Finally, here's Beebe on the perception that Texas is too powerful in the new Big 12.
Texas is powerful, period, just because of the breadth of their program and the recent success. But so is Texas A&M, so is Oklahoma, so is Texas Tech. They're all very strong programs. I don't think you can dismiss certain programs like Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Florida, Alabama, in various leagues -- USC, who have had, Ohio State, Michigan, so forth -- a level of success over a long period of time and others would want to reach that, just like Kansas in basketball and Connecticut and some of those programs. So I don't think you can deny that. It would be foolish, but those programs in our league that have that history and tradition are ones that are powerful, and I don't put Texas in a different category than some of the others in our conference that have had a long time and history of success and have a larger market value right now.