As the Big 12 Conference finds a way to survive, the question becomes whether or not Nebraska made the right move to leave for the Big 10 offer. If a TV deal does indeed get reached with the new Big 12 then it will appear that perhaps Nebraska should have stayed put.
Let’s remember that Texas did not want a part of a TV deal that would lead to even revenue
sharing. Nebraska wanted this to be fair. The Huskers will get this with the move to the Big 10. Nebraska is going to a conference that paid each of its schools $22 million last season from the Big Ten Network. Yes, there is a new TV deal in the works for the Big 12, but at first report it looks like Texas will make more money that the rest of the schools (somewhere in the $20-$25 million range).
It seems like revenue from a TV deal has been the driving force to not only Nebraska bolting, but for the survival of the Big 12 as well. Texas may have had to give up its Longhorn Network had it joined the Pac-10. But now Texas will continue to make more money than the other schools in the conference, while the conference schools are confident they will see a minimum of $14 million from the new deal (twice as much as last year’s minimum). Bottom line…it’s all about money.
Nebraska is headed to a conference where there is equal revenue sharing, that’s what it wanted from Texas. So in that aspect, Nebraska wins. The university also feels they are in a better conference academically. This is big for Nebraska to put the “student” in student-athlete.
Nebraska’s biggest loss at first glance will be travel to away athletic events. Right now fans average 4.2 hours in the car to watch the Big Red. Fans will now average 7.2 hours of drive time to see the Huskers in action. Heck if you throw in Oklahoma and Oklahoma State into the mix it is still an average of two hours less travel to remain in the Big 12. (Note: Travel time was figured from Lincoln and an average amongst the destinations.)
Iowa State – 3.5 hrs
Kansas State – 2.5 hrs
Kansas – 3 hrs
Colorado – 7 hrs
Missouri – 5 hrs
Iowa – 5 hrs
Minnesota – 7 hrs
Wisconsin – 7.5 hrs
Illinois – 8hrs
Northwestern – 8.5 hrs
Desperate times, desperate measures
Is anyone being laughed at more in this whole things than Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State and Baylor? No, I didn’t think so. These five schools were not being mentioned in the realignment talk. Missouri was initially, but fell out of discussion and Baylor was the step-brother that nobody (Texas, Tech, A&M) wanted to drag along, but was hoping Mom (Texas government) would step in and say “You will take your brother with you.”
Unlikely to happen, these five schools were going to be left to either create their own conference (High Five Conference) or to start negotiating with the Mountain West or someone else to find a home. The best option was to find a way to keep the Big 12 together. Why not buy the “South Powers’ back into the conference. That is exactly what happened.
Nebraska and Colorado are figured to have to pay $35-$40 million in penalties for leaving the conference. The five ‘leftovers’ have signed over their portion to give it to Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. They figure this is a good move since they should get more money in a TV deal.
Right now Texas has to be laughing at Nebraska AD Tom Osborne. The Huskers are out, a
new TV deal is in the works, Texas cashes in big and the Horns will have an easier road to the National Championship game. The Longhorns remain superior to the other teams on the field and can still run the conference the way it wants to.
Nebraska did the right thing for what it had a vision. Texas did what it needed to better itself and hurt others. In a few years, don’t be surprised if Texas tries to find a new home because ‘strength of schedule’ kept them out of the championship game….then the rest of these schools will be left out to dry.