East Carolina AD to Big East: TV plan could help 'court' BYU, others

East Carolina athletic director Terry Holland emailed a television revenue plan to Big East membership in late December that he said could help the league “court” BYU and possibly other members, according to an email obtained by CBSSports.com through a public records request.

On Dec. 28, a few days before Boise State left the conference and less than two months from the league securing a long-term television deal with ESPN, Holland emailed league presidents and athletic directors about a “very raw” concept that “may have value after being massaged by others.”

The plan’s principles:

  • The negotiation of a five-year extension to the remaining one year on the media rights deal with ESPN.

  • All schools would have the right to either negotiate separate TV money for their own home games or be part of broader membership negotiations.

  • Schools would remain full-time conference members with either selection unless they’d prefer a football-only designation or decided to leave.

  • It would resolve the stability issue “since all coalition members will assign their media rights to the Big East for the full six years” and that members would have a better feel for their collective worth as a conference after four years of a six-year deal. 

“The above plan would allow us to “court” BYU and possibly other potential conference members,” Holland wrote in the last sentence of the email.

Last week, ESPN matched NBC Sports Network’s offer to land the Big East’s rights. The deal is worth $130 million over seven years, per ESPN.

The league has spoken with BYU, an independent, in the past about joining -- but nothing materialized.

Records of Big-East-related email correspondence from Cincinnati president Santa J. Ono did not show a membership response to Holland, who told CBSSports.com via email that he didn’t expect one.

“Was trying to find some way to move ahead while giving every member the same options [since it had already been determined that Boise State was going to be treated differently by either the MWC or BE],” Holland said.

Before Boise rejoined the Mountain West on New Year’s Eve, it asked the Big East for a larger share of television revenue than its fellow members.

The Big East, which is selling its name to the departing Catholic 7 basketball schools, has 10 members, 11 including Navy in 2015. It will likely add another football school, and Tulsa is a prime candidate.

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