Big 12 wheeling, dealing explained

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins said
Wednesday that the five Big 12 schools in danger of being left
without a conference came up with a plan that included offering
money to keep Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma in the league.

Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Baylor and Missouri drafted a
"business plan" to persuade the bigger schools to reject any
interest from the Pac-10 or Southeastern Conference, Perkins said.
The idea was to make sure the three Big 12 South schools would not
lose any money by sticking with the Big 12.

"Five schools got together, and we tried to develop a business
plan like everything else," said Perkins, who did not disclose
financial details of the offer. He said paying to remain aligned
with Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M is no different from a school
giving a pay raise to a coach who wins a national championship and
gets other job offers.

Perkins and Kansas State athletics director John Currie both
said they don't expect the three big schools to need the money
because league revenues are expected to grow in coming years.

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe indicated on Tuesday that the five
schools had offered to give Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma their
share of whatever exit penalty money Colorado (which will join the Pac-10) and Nebraska (Big Ten) wind up
paying for leaving the league over the next two years.

But Perkins said the five offered to take the money out of their
share of conference revenues from other sources such as television
and NCAA basketball, not the penalty money. Calls to the Big 12
offices in Dallas were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Nebraska, which will join the Big Ten in July 2011, said it does
not believe it owes any penalty money.

"The bylaw is structured as 'damages,' and it's hard for me to
see that there are any damages," Nebraska chancellor Harvey
Perlman said. "The Big 12 is getting more now than they did when
we were a member."

Perlman wouldn't discuss how much the penalty might be, saying,
"The distribution is around $9 million, so you can figure it out."
Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn said Tuesday that the school's penalty for
bolting to the Pac-10 in July 2012 "could be" around $9 million.

Under Big 12 bylaws, schools must give up 50 percent of their
share of conference revenues if they give two years' notice, as
Colorado has done, or 70 percent of the revenue if the notice is
less than 18 months before departure, which apparently would apply
to Nebraska.

According to IRS tax records examined by The Associated Press, the
Big 12 in 2008-09 distributed $10.1 million to Colorado and $11.5
million to Nebraska. Using those figures, the overall penalty for
Colorado over two years would be $10.1 million and $8.05 million
for Nebraska over the next year.

Divided up among the remaining 10 members, each would get about
$1.8 million.

Perkins insisted on referring to penalty money that may be paid
by Colorado and Nebraska as "damages," rebuking reporters during
a news conference for calling it anything else.

"Just take the liquidating damages and put an 'X' on it," he
said. "Put it over here and don't even think about it. ... We're
not going to touch that money."

Currie declined to discuss the details of the smaller schools'
guarantee but said it was the "right long-term move."

"We knew that because of the projections and analysis of the
marketplace, we knew that we were in an excellent position as a
league to continue to grow, to grow our pie," he said. "The big
picture is what we're focused on right now, which is the fact that
our pie will grow, and we have two less mouths to feed around the
table at dinnertime from now on."

Once Colorado and Nebraska decided to leave, there was a
possibility that the Big 12 might dissolve because the Pac-10 was
courting Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M. Oklahoma State and Texas
Tech probably would also have come along. Had they gone, it would
have created a crisis for the other five and left them scrambling
to find a major conference.

But the league held together at 10 members when Texas turned
down the Pac-10 and everyone else fell into line, lured with the
promise of much richer football television contracts and the
promise that Texas and Oklahoma, at least, can start their own TV
networks without sharing with other members.

The talk of concessions didn't bother Kevin Capper, a barber
whose shop is near the Kansas State campus. He said Kansas State is
better off in the Big 12, "even with Texas getting the better end
of the deal."

"We're going to benefit more from them being in the
conference," he said. "How can you fight with that? I guess you
can argue it wasn't fair and equal, but what is?"

Dan Lykins, a Topeka attorney who serves on the Kansas Board of
Regents and has missed only one Kansas State football game since
1986, said Kansas officials understood that their schools didn't have as
much power in the conference as Texas.

"It really doesn't bother me because KU and K-State will end up
getting more money," he said. "One of the most powerful schools
in our country is staying in our conference."