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NCAA Realignment for Dummies: Questions and Answers

So Texas is staying put, making the richest program in the nation, even richer. You have read and heard all the speculation, as to what could have happened and just as abrupt as it started, the speculation will end. Everyone was sure there would be no more Big 12 at this point, but it seems like the dysfunctional conference was taken off life support in the last minute and looks like it will make it through this whole ordeal.

I recently opened up Sportsnickel to answer your questions; here are some of those questions and our understanding of the whole story.

Luis Martinez Huerta asks, “Should or could BIG 12 consider TCU or and Tulsa to add on to their BIG 12 Conference?” Luis, from a competition standpoint, I think this is what everyone would like to see. Most fans, including myself, want to add two teams to the conference to ensure a conference championship. But it will never happen, not now at least. Here is why.

TCU not a viable option for the Big12

Nebraska left because financially they were not making what a program like theirs should. Their alumni and school have harbored resentment since the Big 12 was first formed and have grown tired of a conference that obviously favors the Longhorns. The revenue sharing was in favor in Texas and rightfully so. Seeing as Texas generated more money than any program in all of college football last year. Colorado left due to the same reason, money and the promise of money in the future. One of the main reasons teams who have options, are staying in a 10-team Big 12 format is because revenue divided by 10, equals more revenue divided by 12.

Dan Beebe in a last ditch effort, brilliantly went to the network execs and gathered the power brokers who had a stake in this whole realignment mess. They collectively asked Texas, plain and simple,” What will keep you from moving to the Pac 10.” Texas was given everything they asked. These “power brokers” (TV Network execs) do not want the dominoes to topple. Texas goes to Pac 10, so does the rest of the Big 12 South, no more Big 12 TV revenue. With the Pac 10 move, Big 10 looks to move to 16 team and so does the SEC. Moving to 16 teams conference will include poaching the Big East and Big 10 for teams, which in turn creates Power Conferences which Networks would have to renegotiate the current contracts, which is going to be considerably richer than the current agreements.

This is and always will be about MONEY

What would said teams bring to the table? At this point it all about TV money and the viewing market the perspective teams bring to the conference. Their market is already owned by Texas and UT football. TCU brings an amazing team from a competition standpoint, but surprisingly bring a lackluster fan base. TCU has had one of the best teams in college football the last 5 or so years and have only sold out their 44,088 seat capacity stadium twice since 1996.

In summation, monetarily, it makes no sense to add the teams you mentioned or any others for that matter, seeing as they can make more money and split it with less. The way the league is structured now, it could not sustain adding lower tier teams.

Dan Valacheck and Sportsnickel writer asks, “Who ended up with the best deal: Big XII losing Nebraska/Colorado; Big 10 getting Nebraska or Pac-10 getting Colorado?

Well Dan, by my estimates, Texas won, but the Big 12 overall loses. They lost their 12-team format, which takes away their conference championship game, which is crucial late in the season when the BCS voters are deciding who plays for the whole shebang. The Big 12 champ will be out of sight out of mind during championship week.

Big 10 Win with adding Nebraska

The Pac 10 at this point is a loser in the deal, considering their plans for expansion. Scott, Pac 10 commissioner, really hoped to get a 16-team conference in line by the time it comes for the conference to renegotiate their TV deal. With USC in shambles and no real power team, Larry Scott has to be disappointed the way things have turned out. Look for the Pac 10 to add possibly Utah in the near future.

I think the Big 10 is the real winner here. They were able to add one of the most storied programs in the nation, their amazing fan base and expand their geographic reach. Adding Nebraska and another team will give the Big 10 what they have been longing for, a championship game. The Big 10 definitely won here.

Maria Cadmanasks, “If Texas doesn’t stay in the Big 12, will the Big 12 crumble?” Yes, Maria. Texas is the glue, which holds the Big 12 together. With no Texas, economically its draw is no longer viable. The other teams in the conference are in fact some decent programs and would not stay in a conference without a juggernaut Texas, who brings the majority of revenue and viewers overall to the Big 12.

Jina Martinez asks, “What type of teams will we be facing when all is said and done. Will the competition/season be better/worse/boring?” There is no doubt Texas sold its soul for more money. Most fans I know viewed what has happened as the worst-case scenario. With 10 teams, the Big 12 will be playing the same teams each year with exception of non-conference games. There is no doubt all Big 12 teams are going to need to take a more aggressive approach when scheduling their non-conference opponents. Being under a 10-team format, which the Big 12 intends to stay as, there will be no conference championship game, which is huge when the voters are deciding who will play for the national championships.

Things changed and I hate to say for the better. Texas has gone from being one of the most powerful conferences in the nation, to one if not the weakest major conference. Texas will get the money, they so desperately pursued through out this process, but salvaging a 10 team Big 12 is only putting a band aide on a huge gash. In 5 years when the Big 12 is faltering due to lack of competition the TV execs will not renew for the amount Texas will want and this whole thing starts over again.


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