Big 12 warns of losing 50% of TV value following UT/OU exit

Aug 2, 2021, 4:43 PM | Updated: 7:24 pm
FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2018, file photo, the Big 12 conference logo is seen on a pylon during the...

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2018, file photo, the Big 12 conference logo is seen on a pylon during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Texas and USC in Austin, Texas. Texas and Oklahoma made a request Tuesday, July 27, 2021, to join the Southeastern Conference — in 2025 —- with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey saying the league would consider it in the “near future.” (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Big 12 Conference could see the value of its television deal cut in half once Texas and Oklahoma bolt for the Southeastern Conference, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Monday at a hearing of Texas lawmakers.

A committee of Texas senators heard testimony from university leaders at Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech on the monetary and academic losses that conference realignment would mean for the Big 12 and its members once Texas and Oklahoma leave for the SEC in 2025.

University of Texas at Austin President Jay Hartzell testified that the path to making the switch became clear “into the summer,” and that UT told Bowlsby that in a call following news of the move. Hartzell said the school would “continue to honor all agreements.”

“Up until the moment you hit send on the decision, you are always thinking, ‘Is this the right thing for the University of Texas at Austin?'” Hartzell said.

Bowlsby has been highly critical of both Texas and Oklahoma, accusing them of plotting for months to leave the 10-member league for the powerful SEC. He also accused ESPN of working behind the scenes to gut the Big 12, even sending a cease-and-desist letter that the cable giant refuted, but backed off that stance Monday: “We have agreed to not escalate this publicly. It’s in neither party’s best interest to do so.”

Hartzell was asked whether the school had included ESPN in its conversations about moving to the SEC and said: “Absolutely, categorically, no.”

Hartzell said Texas initiated contact with the SEC, reaching out to the conference in the spring. He said the idea of joining other conferences such as the Big Ten, Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-12 was considered internally, but Texas never contacted those leagues.

Hartzell was also on the receiving end of some needling from lawmakers.

After Hartzell said Texas’ athletic budget was between $220-$225 million per year — one of the largest in the country — Sen. Lois Kolkhorst noted the Longhorns had only won three of the last 10 games against her alma mater, TCU.

“Maybe your fanbase would rather lose to Alabama than TCU,” she said.

Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades, who said his school’s athletic budget is 48% of Texas’, was even harsher in his criticism of the Longhorns during testimony.

“Many of my colleagues around the country believe that the University of Texas created this situation because they think so highly of themselves,” Rhoades said. “My humble opinion: I completely disagree. I think it’s because they felt too little of themselves.”

Texas lawmakers dug into the future of the Big 12 without the Sooners and Longhorns. Bowlsby said the TV contract value would take a 50% hit.

The Big 12 distributed $345 million to its 10 members this year ($34.5 million apiece), down from the previous year because of the pandemic. Most of that revenue comes from the Big 12´s TV deals, including ESPN. The SEC is positioned to distribute as much as $70 million annually to its members in coming years.

Bowlsby said he supported the idea of the remaining Big 12 teams sticking together and said they are exploring their options. He said he wouldn’t blame any school for looking out for themselves first, but “there is a right way to do it.”

Members of the Senate panel focused their questions on the economic impact to Texas cities such as Fort Worth, Waco and Lubbock, the homes of the Big 12 Texas schools being left behind. Baylor President Linda Livingstone told the committee that “the livelihood” of some Texas communities was at stake since the opponent mattered in ticket sales and attracting larger crowds.

Rhoades said the financial implications could put into question upcoming projects — including the building of a new basketball arena — and affect academic opportunities for students. Rhoades said the school, like others impacted, will also struggle to attract and keep talent on the field and in coaching staffs.

“The economic impact is real,” Rhoades said less than four months after the men’s basketball team won the NCAA championship. “If we are no longer a member of a Power Five, we will sell less tickets, we will sell less merchandise, we will raise less money and we will have less corporate sponsorship.”

Texas A&M officials didn’t accept invitations to testify at the hearing, according to state Sen. Jane Nelson, who chaired the committee. Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012.

Nelson told state representatives present at the hearing that she was sorry the House chamber could not hear testimony on the subject due to a lack of quorum after over 50 Democratic Texas representatives left the state to block for a second time the passage of new state voting restrictions.

The Legislature’s special session called by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ends this week, and he has vowed to call another session to ensure the passage of the voting bills.

___

Acacia Coronado is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2020, file photo, The Red River Showdown logo is displayed on the field of the Cotton Bowl, prior to an NCAA college football game between the University of Texas and Oklahoma, in Dallas. Texas and Oklahoma made a request Tuesday, July 27, 2021, to join the Southeastern Conference — in 2025 —- with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey saying the league would consider it in the “near future.” (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File)
            
              FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2018, file photo, the Big 12 conference logo is seen on a pylon during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Texas and USC in Austin, Texas. Texas and Oklahoma made a request Tuesday, July 27, 2021, to join the Southeastern Conference — in 2025 —- with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey saying the league would consider it in the “near future.” (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

AP

Associated Press

Two Kansas high schools investigate offensive chants at game

Two Kansas high schools are investigating after students at one school reportedly yelled racist and offensive taunts at the other school’s basketball team. Topeka High School’s team was subjected to “racial slurs, threats and disgusting taunts,” during a game on Saturday with Valley Center High School, Coach Geo Lyons said in a Change.org petition. He […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., listens as the House select committee investigating the J...
Associated Press

Jan. 6 committee to issue criminal referrals, chairman says

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will make criminal referrals to the Justice Department as it wraps up its probe and looks to publish a final report by the end of the year, the panel’s chairman said Tuesday. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told reporters that the […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Reviews find misuse of COVID-19 hotel stays by prison staff

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — There are at least 35 instances where Connecticut Department of Correction employees potentially misused a COVID-19 program that provided workers with hotel rooms during the height of the pandemic, including a staffer who booked a room to attend a wedding, according to continuing state investigations. So far, 14 of the 35 […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria speaks at a news conference at the Clark County ...
Associated Press

Outgoing elections head in key Nevada county details threats

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Heading into this year’s midterms, the elections director in the largest county in one of the nation’s most important battleground states had a lot on his mind. A new Nevada law required every voter to get a mailed ballot, new processes were in effect for counting all those ballots days after […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Ex-prison worker faces 100-year sentence for knife attack

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A former Indiana Department of Correction worker faces a potential sentence of 100 years in prison under a deal in which she agreed to plead guilty to two counts of murder for a knife attack two years ago in which two people were killed and a third was wounded, a prosecutor said […]
16 hours ago
FILE - A Boeing 747-8, Boeing's new passenger plane, takes its first flight, Sunday, March 20, 2011...
Associated Press

Boeing’s last 747 to roll out of Washington state factory

SEATTLE (AP) — After more than half a century, Boeing is set to roll its last 747 out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday. The jumbo jet — which has taken on numerous roles as a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers and as the Air Force One presidential […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Big 12 warns of losing 50% of TV value following UT/OU exit