Blog Entry

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

Posted on: August 11, 2011 11:57 pm
Don't look at this Texas A&M thing as conference realignment. Look at it through the stakeholders' eyes.

The stakeholders being ESPN, Oklahoma, A&M and Texas. It's likely that ESPN CEO John Skipper is evaluating at this moment how to maximize his profits through Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas if there is another round of conference shuffling.

Where those schools end up is less important than how the three current Big 12 schools can be profitable for ESPN (and Fox).

Whether or not A&M ends up in the SEC, watch for the Pac-12 to sooner or later take another run at Texas. The Big 12's instability dictates it. Commissioner Larry Scott told the Austin American-Statesman last month after the formation of the Pac-12 network one could "imply" that the Longhorn Network would be a "huge impediment" to Texas joining his league.

How quickly things change -- or possibly change. In a strange way, the Pac-12 could now make it more likely that Texas make the jump if it deems the Big 12 not worth the effort.

"At this point I don't think Larry does anything," one source close to the situation said, "He's got to let it come to him. He's the one who is sitting there with all the firepower. There is no one in a better position to monetize expansion than Larry Scott is. Not the SEC, not the Big East, not the ACC, not the Big 12. He's sitting in the catbird seat."

Why? Because he can. Remember, Scott was the guy who had invited six Big 12 teams, including Texas, last year. Consider it a still-open invitation. One that Texas would have to seriously consider.

One source painted it this way: The new Pac-12 Network is made up of six regional networks. Why couldn't the Longhorn Network be folded into the Pac-12 as a seventh regional network?

The source emphasized that ESPN is desperate to make TLN profitable. It has sunk hundreds of millions into the venture and there is no certainty whether it will work. To date, only the Big Ten Network has been profitable among collegiate networks.

It didn't help Thursday that the NCAA ruled against the televising of high school games on school/conference networks.

There are a few hurdles. Texas supposedly would have to surrender its third-party rights (re: archival, historic properties). But if Texas shows interest, that's nothing more that details. The new Pac-12 shares revenue more or less equally. Again, that can be worked out because it's, well, Texas.

Pac-12 schools would have consider working around those barriers to get the No. 1 revenue-producing athletic department into its conference.

That takes care of Texas. Oklahoma? If A&M bolts, it is seemingly a swing team between the Pac-12 and SEC.

Here's why ESPN would like A&M in the SEC: The Aggies would make ESPN's (and CBS') 15-year, $3 billion deal with the league more profitable. Some at A&M obviously see it as a more stable home.

If the Big 12 crumbles, the Longhorns most likely aren't going to the SEC or Big Ten. Texas has always looked down its nose at the SEC. Texas AD DeLoss Dodds is on record as saying he is against independence.

The Pac-12 makes the most sense for Texas almost because of TLN. It would increase the value of Pac-12 Network as well as increase the value of TLN.

"Something is wrong with your conference," a source said. "when Washington State is getting more from its conference than the University of Texas."

The source was referring to the fact that some Pac-12 projections have the league making $30 million per school once its network gets up and running. Even when the Big 12 renegotiates its primary rights in a couple of years, it is expected to top out at $20 million per year. That was with A&M.

So where does that leave us? Scott and SEC commissioner Mike Slive declined to comment through spokesmen. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe did not return phone and text messages.

But I learned last year during the conference merry-go-round to start with the stakeholders. Last year, it was Texas and Notre Dame. Both stayed in place, minimizing conference realignment.

This year the main players are Oklahoma, Texas and A&M. The question seems to be whether the Big 12 will hold together (with nine schools, or more with new expansion) if A&M leaves. That decision is up to Texas and ESPN (and Fox).

That combination kept the Big 12 together last year. Is the negativity such that the league couldn't go on after the loss of A&M? Is an enhanced SEC and Pac-12 worth more to ESPN than a damaged or non-existent Big 12?

The answers, seemingly, are coming soon. Despite reports that A&M-to-the-SEC was a done deal, it's likely that nothing will be officially decided until the Aug. 22 A&M regents meeting.

While Nebraska was a slam dunk to go to the Big Ten last spring, it wasn't official until AD Tom Osborne and chancellor Harvey Perlman made their official presentation to the regents.

Through an A&M spokesman I was able to determine this much about the process:

--A conference call among the regents is scheduled for Aug. 22. The fiscal year budgets for the entire A&M system will be discussed.

--An agenda has not been published beyond the budget discussions. An official agenda for the meeting will be available 72 hours prior.

--The spokesman would say whether conference membership would be discussed.
Category: NCAAF

Since: Sep 7, 2008
Posted on: August 12, 2011 11:11 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

NO way the Big 12 crumbles, are you kidding me?  That conf is a freaking mess, starting with the worse crooked Commish there is in Beebe.  Talk about sour grapes, can't even show his face in Lincoln.  I just love how the Huskers got ripped to shreds called a traitor etc, but 400mil later who's laughing now?  Goes so much further than athletics.  Big 12 is a joke, KU wanted to bolt for the Big East, Misery would have died to join the Big Ten.  I could go on and on about how texas ruined that conf, at least they hold the naming rights to the conf.  The Texas Southern Athletic Conf.  OU would be smart to bail to, imagine the SEC if they snagged them too.

Since: Aug 12, 2011
Posted on: August 12, 2011 10:54 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

Jetsfan10 is right.  Take it from someone who follows the Hogs:  Arkansas will never, ever be part of the Big 12.  Never.  And, anyone who even mentions this as a possibilty has ZERO idea what they are talking about.  It will not happen.

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: August 12, 2011 9:16 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

My darkhorse in the running is Arkansas.

People need to stop with the pipe dream. Are you all little children and weren't around or ever heard about why they left int he first place? Arkansas left Texas and the SWC the first time for a reason and they aren't going back. The SEC has benefits well above anything the Big 12 can offer. As long as it is the Texas 10, 12, 9, whatever it is, Arkansas won't be a part of it.

Since: Aug 13, 2008
Posted on: August 12, 2011 9:00 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

No way the BIG 12 crumbles. They will fill the 2 slots left open by the departure of Colorado and Nebraska. I suspect Houston to lobby hard for one of those slots (again). My darkhorse in the running is Arkansas. Not getting TCU last was mistake as most know and have stated.

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: August 12, 2011 8:59 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

It doesn't matter where Texas goes the program is in a shambles.Any confrence that welcomes them is making a mistake.Let them go independent and watch everything colapse as we've seen with Notre Dame. After consecutive sub 500 seasons the recruiting will stop as well these kids want to play for a winner not the state of Texas.Screw them with there over sizes ego's, it's going to cost them in the end.

Since: Aug 11, 2011
Posted on: August 12, 2011 4:34 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

Texas to the B1G. Along with Mizz, ND and an east coast team. Mark the words. That $$$$$ dwarfs the pac $$$$

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: August 12, 2011 4:01 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

Something is going to give with the Big 12.  What that is remains to be seen.  One thing for sure is that Dodd doesn't have any special insights into the future.  And if Texas doesn't get a winning record this year, then they can kiss their network goodbye.  Who knows, maybe the rest of the Big 12 will leave them behind.

Since: Nov 11, 2010
Posted on: August 12, 2011 3:09 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

Won't be surprised if Texas goes independent and still plays A&M and Oklahoma each year

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: August 12, 2011 2:27 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

I agree. Texas needs the Pac-10/12 move than before. Texas can't be in a conference if they are the only marquee team. Sure alot of people will watch Texas games, but will enough people watch games of the other teams in the conference? Probably not! 

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2011 2:19 am

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

Considering the revenue Texas brings to the table I don't see what is wrong with letting them have their own Network with the stipulation they can televise 1 non-conf game and 1 conf home game. The PAC 16 gets to decide which conference game airs on the LHN and the broadcast link must be available to the visiting teams regional network, with the visiting team receiving Tv compensation. (ie - Washington State / FSN-NW)

If the LHN wishes to run repalys of archived PAC-16 games air by Fox or Espn, they will have to buy the rights. I'm not a Texas fan, or any fan of the teams that would be involved in a potential Super Conference, I just think under the right circumstances it could work out for all parties involved. A PAC-16 would be fairly stout and Texas is not likely to have many Conference games the Tier 1 or Tier 2 networks would not televise.
The LHN would only be eligible to televise games passed over by the Top 2 tiers, unless a Top 2 Tier game is bought out by the LHN.


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