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.
And still Texas made the decision to head West and would be announcing it today if not for the politicians.
Baylor's omission got a few legislators worked up, but Texas' arrogance toward Texas A&M started the firestorm. UT produced this plan, then handed it over to A&M for rubber-stamping.
The Aggies don't like being told what to do by the Longhorns.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is an Aggie. Better yet, a former A&M yell-leader. When A&M revolted by courting the SEC, and the 'Horns started talking about never playing the Aggies again in any sport, why wouldn't a governor step in?
Texas legislators scheduled hearings on Wednesday to discuss the issue, and suddenly the mood changed. State appropriations are no small matter.
Now we know why this realignment went into warp speed. The ultimatum to Nebraska 11 days ago. The quick invitation to Colorado last week. The scheduled regents meetings at UT and Tech today. The Longhorns were trying to outrun their politicos.
Don't forget, politics stopped Texas' interest in joining the Pac-10 15 years ago. This time, Texas appears to have misplayed its hand. If UT wanted to go to the Pac-10, it needed A&M as an accomplice. The Aggies should have been brought into the fold earlier.
Instead, A&M gets the last laugh. The Aggies upset Texas' grand plan.
Some say Texas tried to strong-arm other schools in this affair. In the end, Texas got strong-armed itself.
Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.