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"We have discussed the concept of a channel with them. We're not in business together," Castiglione said. "That's not it at all. I don't want to give you that impression."We've been studying it. They've been studying it. ... We'd both like to be aggressive and that part of our DNA to be aggressive." Such a channel would not prevent the creation of a conference network.
Most football and men's basketball games couldn't be shown live on Oklahoma's own channel because of national TV contracts through the Big 12. But the channel could broadcast games in those sports that aren't picked up, along with others from the school's 21 sports.Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder said his school also looked into creating a network, but "it doesn't look like it would be a revenue generator for us. It would be a capital loss." "Even if you're the University of Texas and there are a lot of people nationwide that follow that brand, it's still tough to make a go of it," Holder said. "If you're Oklahoma State, obviously with a smaller enrollment, a smaller population base in the state, no big metropolitan areas, it would be very, very difficult to make a go of it. We'd probably be more interested in doing things on our website, live streaming and things like that, than doing a network." Some of the league's smaller schools are giving up cash for the promise of keeping the league together and more money later. Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Iowa State and Missouri -- which were in danger of being left homeless if the conference dissolved -- agreed to give up their share in buyout penalties to be paid by Nebraska and Colorado for leaving the league, Beebe said. The idea is to have that money go to Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma, the schools the Big 12 needed to stay to remain viable, to make up for the difference in revenue those three might have made going elsewhere. The amount of the penalties has not been disclosed, but Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn confirmed that his school's penalty for leaving the Big 12 "could be" around $9 million. "We'll work with our new conference with some type of finance agreement," Bohn said. "The Pac-10 will not assist in any contributions toward the buyout. But they've indicated a willingness to help us finance the agreement [to join]." Late Tuesday, Missouri officials said they have not agreed to give up their share of the buyout penalties. "In no way do we expect to be hurt financially," Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton said. State officials in Kansas weren't talking much Tuesday about the concessions, referring questions to the Big 12 or saying that details might take weeks to work out. Several said Kansas and Kansas State are likely to do significantly better financially in a slimmer Big 12 even with the concessions than they would be searching for new leagues. "You're weighing your costs and your gains," said former Lt. Gov. Gary Sherrer, vice chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees both Kansas and Kansas State. He added: "One thing we know is that being in a premier conference is not only important financially for the athletic programs, but it really has a lot to do with the recruitment of students, maintaining strong support from alums and donors." Big 12 assistant commissioner Bob Burda responded that the 10 schools will share "all withdrawal fees withheld from Colorado and Nebraska," calling the earlier talks about uneven distribution of the penalty a "good-faith offer." Beebe insisted the Big 12's decision to stick together was about more than money. "A strong, strong consideration ... by the institutions to remain is the association of these schools, the fact that college athletics is very much a regional, regionally supported endeavor, and that it would be a great travesty for this part of this country if it's major institutions located with conferences that aren't in this region," Beebe said. Holder said Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott and deputy Kevin Weiberg extended an offer to five schools that "was contingent on everyone agreeing to move. You had to have unanimity. "We never got together on a conference call, the five athletic directors. We never had a meeting anywhere. We never really had a chance to get to that point because by the time the presentation had been made to the five schools, one of the schools decided that they liked where they were a lot better, so they opted to stay." Texas A&M's flirtations with the Southeastern Conference had threatened to pull apart a 100-year rivalry with Texas. "We committed to the Big 12 before we knew what Texas A&M was going to do. We are delighted Texas and Texas A&M will be in the same conference," Powers said. One thing that still could fracture the conference is hurt feelings. Missouri officials had hoped for an invitation to the Big Ten, and other less influential members might not appreciate the top-down nature of the conference. "We live in athletics," Dodds said. "We beat each other up on Saturdays, we hug each other on Sunday." Beebe said there are no plans to expand the conference, leaving the Big 12 with 10 teams to play a nine-game football schedule and do away with the conference championship game. And what about that conference name? Can a league with 10 teams call itself the Big 12? "We'll consult the Big Ten on that," Dodds said, with a nod to a league that now has 12 teams. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.