Adam’s final look at Conference Realignment
After a week of this SEC drama, reading about it, discussing it, and doing some research myself, my perspective has changed a little. As an Aggie, I don’t like what Baylor is doing, but I understand it. They saw what they did to the SWC teams that got left behind in the 90s, and yes Baylor was the first team from the SWC to sign with the Big 8/12. That was also before TV contracts were in the hundreds of millions of dollar range, but Baylor has made a lot of money being in the Big 12. If/When the Big 12 dissolves, Baylor will instantly lose up to $10 million in TV revenue, if they get into Conference USA, the WAC, or some other conference they might recoup 1 or 2 million. So of course Ken Starr is digging in his heels, kicking, hissing, howling, screaming, cursing, suing, and making a fuss, Would YOU want to be the President of Baylor that had to eliminate the football program because the University couldn’t afford to keep it?
Now is Texas A&M the Bad Guy? No! Is Bowtie Loftin intentionally killing the Big 12? No. Is the SEC trying to kill Baylor athletics? NO! Isn’t A&M backing out of their commitment to the Big 12? Kinda, but it’s a money thing, just like it is for Baylor and everyone else. We signed the Big 12 deal, before the Longhorn network deal went through. The University of Texas offered Texas A&M a piece of that deal, and we refused. That is, as far as I can tell a true statement, HOWEVER, what we were offered by Texas was a joke compared to what they were getting. And seeing the HUGE disparity already in TV contract money, the Aggies looked for greener pastures, and I’m talking about folding green. Texas A&M has flirted with the SEC since Arkansas left, it was even suggested we not join the Big 12, but move on to the SEC in the 90s. So the slap in the face from Texas and the Big 12 where TV money was concerned (Texas gets the lion’s share of the TV money, even though they didn’t go to a bowl last year, and Oklahoma was pre-season #1). Simple fact was, if the Aggies were to go to the SEC, Texas A&M University stands to make a lot more money, than by staying in a conference run by the Longhorns, for the Longhorns. Now Baylor is happy feeding off the Scraps from UT’s table. They’re fans don’t go to football games anyway, hell their fans don’t go to any sporting event, unless it’s Soccer or Women’s Basketball(they still get all worked up over women in shorts.) So there is no way their athletic department could ever be self sufficient. EVEN Texas A&M, which sells 70,000+ tickets to home games, has trouble balancing the books keeping the athletic department funded.
Now, I’m not saying that UT is the bad guy either. The Longhorn Network deal stands to bring them a lot of money. They did what was best for the UT, just like the Aggies going to the SEC is what’s best for TAMU financially, and if OU goes to the Pac-12 that’s what is best for the Sooners’ pocket books. And the Pac-12 and SEC also get to sign BIG NEW Contracts with the TV networks, for the rights to air their conference games in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, SO MORE Money for those conferences makes everybody happy but the Baylors and Iowa States of the world that get left out.
In the END, just like everything else in this great country of ours, it’s a business decision and it’s all about the MONEY!!!
Here’s the way things shake out in the GREED is GOOD model: Aggies go SEC. The SEC makes a ton of money, all the SEC schools get to recruit Texas High School players with even more leverage, since they are guaranteed to be on TV in Texas every Saturday, and the Aggies unfortunately get to be a midlevel SEC team as we take our lumps in football, but we do get more money. OU, OSU, and Tech go to the Pac-12. The Pac-12 gets to renegotiate its TV contract, for more money to include Texas metro markets, Pac-12 teams get to recruit in Texas, diluting the talent pool even more, but OU and OSU get to recruit California more heavily as they rule the Pac-12 west division, easily rolling Colorado, Arizona, Arizona St, and Utah year after year. Baylor, Iowa State, Missouri, Kansas and K-State get absorbed into Conference USA, the WAC, or Big East. Meanwhile back in Austin, Texas wants its network cake and wants to eat it too, the ACC looks to be the only conference that seems willing to let them keep the LHN, so I guess they join the ACC or go independent.
Here’s what I thought would be the Best case scenario for EVERYONE in the Big 12: Aggies Stay, OU Stays, and the Big 12 FIRES Dan Beebe. The Big 12 hires Dr Robert Gates to run the show. Texas gives up the Longhorn network deal and it becomes the LONESTAR Big 16 Network, TV revenue is shared equally between the Teams of the Big 16. The Texas Division is made up of: UT, Texas A&M, Tech, Baylor, SMU, TCU, UH, and UNT or Rice. The Big 16 North Division is now: OU, OSU, Kansas,K-State, Missouri, Iowa State, BYU, and Boise State/Fresno State, the north also has its own regional TV deal ensuring every Big 16 game is aired in Big 16 markets throughout the Midwest, Mountain, and West coast metro areas. That revenue is shared equally as well. This gives Texas College Football a chance to keep players in state, rather than being cherry picked for our best players by the SEC, PAC 12, and Big 10. This also sets up a Big 16 Championship game for what should be a chance to play in the BCS national championship bowl game. It also allows for meetings between hated rivals OU and UT for the Big 16 championship. The Big 16 is the first official super conference footballwise and the first division signed into the eventual college football championship playoff system. Where FINALLY a Collegiate football National Championship is won, ON THE FIELD, not awarded based on spreadsheets, computer programs or the skewed opinions of some coaches and writers. But unfortunately, my dream scheme requires the Presidents of their respective Universities to look past the billions of dollars the Bowl System wields to corrupt college football.
Well I said it was a dream scenario…at least we’ll have fun at the tailgates in the SEC, hopefully the Century Tree doesn’t get poisoned.