Dan Beebe, understandably, is attempting to keep the ten remaining Big 12 members together. The carrot he's using is a promise of a big payout from a new television contract, according to the Kansas City Star:
The same source said a new television contract being touted by commissioner Dan Beebe could produce "significantly more" than $17 million for each of the 10 remaining Big 12 schools. Perhaps upwards of $20 million per school.
The $17 million figure is important because that's roughly what the SEC gave out per team this year. It's important to note though that it didn't all come from TV contracts. Here's how it shook out (all values are in millions of dollars:
|INCOME (PER TEAM)
|SEC Championship Game
|SEC Basketball Tournament
So that's how the SEC makes its money. Let's put the TV aside for a second and look at the rest.
The SEC already has a more lucrative package of bowl tie-ins, and as a larger league, it will have a better chance at having more bowl teams. The Big 12 Lite will, if anything, lose ground on that category. It probably will be higher than the SEC on March Madness dollars since the Big 12 Lite has more good basketball programs than the SEC does, and they collectively would probably go farther in the tournament on average.
The Big 12 Lite would have to get special permission or have the NCAA rule changed in order to continue to hold a football championship game. That alone puts it in jeopardy, and that's before you consider that there's not a lot of interest in keeping it around from the remaining ten. That line item for the Big 12 Lite would probably disappear entirely. As for the basketball tournament, I'd imagine the Big 12 Lite's version could be a bigger money maker than the SEC's, but not by a whole lot. Conference tournaments aren't a huge deal.
So let's count it up. The Big 12 Lite would be behind the SEC on bowls and the conference championship game. It would probably make a little more on the NCAA Tournament and perhaps a few nickels more on the basketball conference tournament. Overall, I think the Big 12 would make less than the SEC on those four categories.
If that's the case, then the Big 12 has to make up even more ground on the TV contract side. I doubt it could get more per team from football as the SEC is a better commodity than the Big 12 Lite would be, so that would put the Big 12 even farther behind. I have no doubt that the Big 12 could get more money for basketball than the SEC does, but would it make up for the rest? In 2005, the entirety of regular season basketball contracts totaled just under $160 million for everyone. Obviously it's gone up since then, but not by colossal leaps.
Here's the real killer though. Texas won't stay around unless there's unequal revenue sharing, allowing UT to get a bigger piece of the pie than the others. I'm not even sure that Texas could get $17 million while getting the lion's share of the payout, much less Baylor while getting the leftovers. Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance may believe Beebe to be a "very good negotiator," but he'd have to be a miracle worker to get Baylor's take up to $17 million.
I wouldn't be totally shocked to see the Big 12 survive, but I would be floored if it got everyone at least $17 million a year.