Big 12 schools eyeing $22-25 million in conference revenue payout

May is the time of year when conferences start to finalize their yearly revenue numbers while fueling the college football arms race debate in the process.

The Big Ten is coming out strong with a reported $25.7 million per school.

The Big 12 is in good shape, too, as league sources forecast a conservative range of $22-25 million in conference payout to each school for 2012-13.

The Big 12 will formally release numbers at the league’s spring meetings May 29-31 in Las Colinas and doesn’t have official comment on such projections.

League sources label the range conservative because the numbers aren’t finalized and there could be wiggle room for more.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has said projections of $26.2 million per school ($262 million split 10 ways) aren’t exact but are “in the ballpark.” League sources with direct knowledge of Big 12 revenue plans agree but admit they don’t know the origin of that figure.

The projections don’t include third-tier television rights, which the schools control and, in some cases, garner serious side money. (Texas and West Virginia are both reportedly over $9 million per year.)

The Big 12 makes about $200 million per year from television deals with Fox and ESPN that kicked in this year and go for 13 seasons. NCAA tournament credits and bowl revenues add to the pot.

Kansas State, the conference’s lone BCS bowl recipient last season, gets a reward of around $900,000 after selling its full allotment of 17,500 Fiesta Bowl tickets. In this case, the Wildcats get to keep 100 percent of the sales from 25 percent of the allotment (4,375 tickets). 

West Virginia and Texas Christian won’t get full revenue shares until 2016 when they are fully vested. The two schools receive partial membership payout until then.

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