Share “Berry Tramel: Texas got strong-armed”

by Berry Tramel Modified: December 29, 2010 at 1:08 pm •  Published: June 15, 2010

Here's the way the story goes.

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe went into a war room and over a weekend convinced television networks to pony up hundreds of millions of dollars more than anyone believed possible, for a weakened football conference.

And the University of Texas, which knows where every available dollar in collegiate athletics is stashed, suddenly said, "Wow”?

Sorry. Don't buy it. The Pac-10 exodus of Big 12 South schools was derailed by Texas politics.

Not network television money. Not a desire to revive a league on life support. Not even Texas' desire to squeeze even more concessions out of schools desperate to keep the Big 12 afloat.

Texas politics. Governor Rick Perry and Austin legislators flexed their muscles.

How else to explain UT's carefully-constructed plan, hatched in private months ago, launched in public two weeks ago, going ka-boom in a matter of days?

It can't be about the money. Texas knows how much money is out there.

Texas knows how much the Big 12 is worth on the open market, with or without Colorado and Nebraska. Texas knows how much a Pac-16 would have been worth.

Texas doesn't leave money on the table. Texas studied the financials on staying or going long before Beebe's masquerade of coming to the rescue.

Don't automatically believe the crazy numbers being thrown out. With Nebraska's exit, the Big 12 is less marketable now than ever before. The advertising industry still struggles. And networks are fighting over themselves to televise Texas-Kansas and Oklahoma-Iowa State?

Something smells. I think Beebe's TV contracts will be a boon to all Big 12 schools. Every school will make significantly more money.

But Texas knew that six months ago, when the Big Ten started sniffing around for expansion. Knew that in February, when UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds told me the Big 12's ship would come in on television contracts. Knew that Saturday, when Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott flew to the Southwest to issue a group invitation to the Big 12 schools.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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