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Hooked on the Horns: Texas is the engine that powers the Big 12

by Berry Tramel Modified: February 21, 2010 at 12:02 am •  Published: February 21, 2010

"Drastic” could mean a change in the Big 12 revenue-distribution formula, which always has favored the more TV-popular schools and a subject that we’ll discuss further in the Monday Oklahoman. Drastic could mean even further disparity in the revenue streams of the Big 12 and the conferences it compete against; Big Ten schools reap millions more per year from media contracts than do Big 12 schools.

"That’s a concern long-term,” said Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder. "We’ve got to do something to narrow the gap. What we’ve been trying to focus on is really building the Big 12 brand.”

Dodds expresses confidence the Big 12’s television contracts will improve. He said the league started slowly with its TV deals and never has caught up. But in 2015, the Big 12’s contracts with both ABC/ESPN and Fox Sports Net will be up for renewal, and he expects the conference to be rewarded then.

"We’ll get ours,” Dodds said. "A lot of it is timing. We’ve been out of sync. We’ll be in sync in 2015. Make do between now and then.”

Dodds doesn’t talk like a man about to leave the Big 12 behind. He talks like a man wanting his creation to prosper.

"We’ve been a bit reactive instead of proactive,” Dodds said. "We let people talk the Big 12 down. We continue to let people kind of put us in a category, they’re we’re not the SEC or the Big Ten. But we are, truthfully. Be proactive about marketing that.

"This year, we’re the best basketball in the nation. If not the best football, it’s in the top two.”

The Big 12 indeed is a great league. And Texas is the engine, the flagship school. The Longhorns deliver the tradition of Oklahoma and Nebraska, plus the one thing the Big Reds can’t: Texas television sets, which create the opportunity for the Big 12 to cash in on network windfalls.

If the Big 12 has Texas, the Big 12 is fine. Without Texas, it’s every man for himself.

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.

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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