OSU, Baylor deserve to get paid like the big boys

Oklahoma State and Baylor sit atop the Big 12 South standings for their on-the-field success. But that success hasn't translated into more TV revenue, but it should according to columnist Jenni Carlson.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: November 5, 2010 at 9:36 am •  Published: November 4, 2010

Look at the current Big 12 rankings, and you'll see Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska at the top.

Languishing in the bottom half — Oklahoma State and Baylor.

No, we're not talking about the standings based on wins and losses. Look at those, and you'll see the Cowboys and the Bears at the top. Baylor is first in the South Division while OSU is tied for second.

But despite their on-field success this season, OSU and Baylor are nowhere near the top of the Big 12 rankings for television revenue.

Under the conference's revenue-distribution system, teams are rewarded for TV appearances. Including this weekend's games which are headlined by Baylor at OSU in a showdown for South Division supremacy, the Cowboys rank seventh in TV revenue while the Bears are tied for last.

The team in first place?

Texas with $2,725,000.

OSU and Baylor together haven't earned that much so far this season.

How is that fair? I'm all for profit-sharing that rewards teams, but where is the just reward for OSU and Baylor? They have scratched and clawed for years. They have improved their programs and upgraded their talent. They have become November contenders.

But when it comes to TV revenue, they still find themselves at the bottom.

It's a flaw in the system, a hitch that is hurting teams that deserve better.

All of the TV revenue generated in the Big 12 is split in half, then distributed to the schools in two ways. The first half is divided equally among the schools, a per-school payout expected to be in excess of $2 million this season. It doesn't depend how many times a team is on television. It doesn't matter whether a team makes for must-see TV.

Kansas, for example, will receive exactly the same amount from that pot as Oklahoma.

The second half of the revenue is distributed based on television appearances, and the formula to determine the payouts assigns a unit value to each appearance.

Non-conference games played on network television earn two network units while a conference game played on a network earns one network unit. Each network unit will be worth approximately $300,000 this season.

Non-conference games played on a cable network earn two cable units while a conference game played on cable earns one cable unit. Each cable unit will be worth approximately $175,000 this season.

Clear as mud?

Here are a couple close-to-home examples that might explain things.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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SMALL SCREEN, BIG BUCKS

Half of the revenue that the Big 12 receives from its football television contracts is split equally among the conference schools. The other half is divided based on the teams' TV appearances. For non-conference games, network broadcasts are worth $600,000 while cable broadcasts are worth $350,000. For conference games, each team earns $300,000 when it appears on a network while each team earns $175,000 when it appears on cable.

Here's the appearance-based revenue earned through this weekend's games:

Team: Non-conference network games, Non-conference cable games, Conference network games, Conference cable games, Total revenue

Texas, 1, 2, 3, 3, $2,725,000

Oklahoma, 1, 2, 2, 3, $2,425,000

Nebraska, 1, 0, 4, 1, $1,975,000

Kansas State, 1, 1, 0, 5, $1,825,000

Iowa State, 1, 1, 1, 3, $1,775,000

Missouri, 0, 1, 3, 2, $1,600,000

Oklahoma State, 0, 2, 1, 3, $1,525,000

Texas A&M, 1, 0, 0, 4, $1,300,000

Kansas, 0, 2, 0, 3, $1,225,000

Texas Tech, 0, 1, 2, 1, $1,125,000

Baylor, 0, 1, 0, 4, $1,050,000

Colorado, 0, 2, 0, 2, 1,050,000

* Dollar amounts are approximate.

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