So What Should Big 12 Schools Do ? Say No to Super Conferences

Here is some unsolicited advice to the Big 12. As you might expect coming from me, it’s going to be contrary to what everyone else thinks they should do.

With Texas A&M trying to leave the Big 12 (It doesn’t happen until the SEC accepts them) every remaining school is trying to decide in the immortal lyrics of The Clash “Should I Stay or Should I Go”.  The quick answer ?

They should stay.

Why ? The first reason is that the Super Conferences that are forming or being considered will turn into a huge mistake. No if ands or buts about it. While the concept of a Super Conference sounds incredibly cool , the reality is that the larger than 12 school conferences will only invoke the law of intended consequences and will create the following problems:

1. More schools will NOT mean more TV money.

The big college TV networks, Fox, ESPN, CBS pay for quality, not quantity.  They need marquee matchups that are “Must Tweet TV”.  The number of schools in a conference actually reduce the parity and quality of match-ups in a conference. The networks will not pay up for that.  Adding Texas A&M to the SEC is not going to add a single dollar’s worth of value to the owner of the SEC TV contract , regardless of sport.  Maybe the SEC has an escalator in their contract that increases the total value of the TV contract, but I’m guessing that it still will result in a reduction in the dollars paid to each school when compared to the amount paid had an additional school not joined the conference.

2. Fans will hate the scheduling impact

You know how there is midnight madness in college basketball ? And late night and games scheduled at weird times for basketball ? Get ready for morning madness in college football as well.  I’m guessing that the only way to get all those games through a single TV network partner is to start very, very early or to go very very late.

OR

to move games to online broadcasts.  Which is exactly why the big networks are very supportive of the Super Conferences. They know they will be able to force matchups OFF of tv and on to internet based broadcasts. You can pass your own judgement if that’s good or bad.

3. Say Goodbye to Cupcake Football Games

As a big college football fan I see this as a positive. But if you talk to any coach with BCS aspirations, they will tell you that this is a huge negative. Sure Utah State can take Auburn to the wire every now and then, but the reality is most BCS title aspiration (not all) schools have 3 or 4 cupcake games on their schedule. With every school added to a conference they are going to have to remove a cupcake to make room on their schedule. Coaches are going to HATE this. Of course the smaller schools are going to lose their pay day as well.

4. Goodbye Geographic Rivalry Games

Growing up in Pittsburgh I absolutely loved the Pitt vs Penn State battles . It didn’t matter how bad either team was.  I hated the fact that the game disappeared.  All those natural rivalries of Texas A&M in and around the state of Texas  will be impacted.  And as far as new rivalries, it’s a long drive for fans from College Station to Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, etc.  (Yes I know Arkansas has survived it but it would be interesting to know what their fans think about only playing A&M as a nearby rival and btw, they already play each other ).

I don’t care how good  a game OU vs Oregon could hypothetically be, fans from both sides are going to second guess the economics of going to the games. And if it’s an off-year for either team, then what ?

5. Big Dogs Hate Becoming Little Dogs

In a huge conference a school  that was once a “leader” in its conference will inevitably become an also ran. They will be the school that used to get national games that now is relegated to the internet broadcasts or a small coverage regional game.  Think recruits might notice that ?  Of course they will. Being on the bottom rung of a 12 team conference is bad enough. Being at or near the bottom of a 16 team conference assures television invisibility.

How long will it take before teams that feel like they aren’t getting the coverage they need will withdraw from a super conference ?  At which point someone else obviously has to take their place at the bottom.  Big dogs hate becoming little dogs. It will be just a matter of time before schools withdraw.

So What should the Big 12 teams do ? They should stay in the Big 12 

So now let me explain some reasons why I think the Big 12 should stay as is after Texas A&M leaves.

1. The Big12  becomes the AL East of College Football.

Every year you know that the Yankees and Red Sox are going to battle it out in a unique rivalry where both sides dislike each other. It is one of the most watched match-ups in MLB. Now some might argue it is because of market size. It’s not. There are plenty of large market rivalries that don’t compare (see Dodgers – Giants).   Texas vs OU has the same cachet and regional and national intensity.  If either team moves they will have a difficult , if not impossible time replacing the quality of this rivalry. What’s more, the remaining teams because of the quality of the programs can quickly evolve into significant rivalries

Going back to my AL East comparison, Tampa Bay has quickly become a rival to both the Yankees and Red Sox. It’s not a rivalry of national interest yet, but it can get there.  The Big 12 has quality programs that will only grow in significance because it has fewer schools.

More schools in a conference dilutes rivalries if only because in a super conference they may not play each other every year.

2. Money, Money, Money

Probably the most important reason to stay in a smaller Big 12 is that fewer schools means more money to the conference. The Big 12 is looking at a new TV deal in  just a few years.  The bidding between Fox, ESPN, CBS and maybe even NBC that has just rebranded  Versus as NBC Sports Network could be intense.  Will they get less money having lost 3 schools in the past 3 years….. ABSOLUTELY NOT.

They will get just as  much money and if they play their cards right, they could get even more !  On a per school basis it could be much, much more.

Their TV partners want quality, marquee games with national significance.  That happens with the top 2 to 4  teams in every major conference. It doesn’t matter whether your conference has 9. 12. 16 or more members. There are only 20 teams in the Top 20 and 10 in the Top 10. By the 5th game of the season the top teams in the top conferences are getting national attention.  Everyone else is just working to become bowl eligible to keep their fans interested.  The TV networks pay the big bucks in order to be able to broadcast the best games between the best teams in the conference. They don’t care about the 5th or lower teams playing each other. Those go regional not national.

3. Out of Conference TV Ready Games

Fewer teams in the conference means more opportunity for out of conference games. They have more opportunities to schedule VERY TV FRIENDLY MATCHUPS with schools  from other non super conferences.  Could the Oregon vs LSU game yesterday even have been put together if both conferences had 14 schools ? 16 schools ?  It’s would be very tough. Not the case among the non super conference schools. There will alway be compelling matchups available. Which of course the TV networks will love.

4. They Can Pay Players Larger Stipends or Start an NFL Like Development Fund

The Big 12 can take the 20mm, 25mm or whatever the amount that would have gone to Texas A&M and do any of the following or whatever else they can think of :

a. Do what the NFL does, make it a fund that can be borrowed against to develop or enhance stadiums and practice facilities or for conference wide programs.

b. Use it for anything that allows the Big 12 to brand itself as a better quality conference for its athletes, fans and TV partners.

c. Use the additional shares to increase the stipends to athletes across all revenue sports.  Think this might help the recruiting of all Big 12 schools ?

65 thoughts on “So What Should Big 12 Schools Do ? Say No to Super Conferences

  1. One of things that I think is very important in any revision of the college football conference structure and the post season bowl structure is considering how whatever is done affects recruiting.

    Want to see alignment really shake up? Want to see a team like A&M be running for the SWAC instead of the SEC? Set up a playoff system with payouts and the NCAA sanctioned national championship for the winner.

    There are 11 conferences right now playing division 1-A football. 11 conference champions + 5 at large seeds, makes a nice 16 team playoff pool, just like they do in 1-AA. Any school that wins their conference or gets a bid, chooses to stick with the existing bowl system? Fine, go, but the NCAA national champion is coming out of the playoff system. that’s the key. If you want the title of NCAA national champ, need to go through the playoff. Don’t know how you’d make that official.

    But if you could, it sure would make college football a lot more interesting and balanced, and generate even MORE fans, if the best high school recruits in the entire country, could go to any of the 120 colleges in the county playing 1-A ball, and have a realistic shot at playing for a national championship if their team wins their individual conference title or gets one of those at large bids.

    It sure would make it intersting for coaches, to be able to recruit players to any school in the country, and have that playoff picture in their pocket when they walk into Johnny B. Goode’s moms and pops living room.

    I also like the idea of running it right next to the current bowl system, with a contracted payout as noted, watch the bowl system crumble and die quickly.

    I’ll do wahtever little part I can to try to make it work.

    Comment by andytsc -

  2. Mark

    You are on point about this all the way! Let Texas A&M go do what they want. This is a good thing for the rest of the teams in the conference to get more money and have more stability in their programs down the road. Great Blog.

    Comment by dirkismyh3r0 -

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  5. Good post Mark,

    While I concur with the notion that traditional rivalries will eventually suffer slow deaths from conference realignment (Texas-TAMU), major conferences stand to make more money from expansion.

    You think the ACC would regret having 16 teams if Notre Dame was on board? You better believe the ACC would leverage the hell out of ESPN for more $$$ if that happened. Hell, the ACC stands to make more money now that Pitt and Syracuse (two major TV markets) are on board.

    Superconferences would not be doing this if they stand to lose money. Get ready for the new world of college football folks…

    http://www.theklowntimes.net

    Comment by klownboy -

  6. Interested in Cuban’s thoughts on an NCAA alternative similar to farm baseball but unaffiliated with NFL. Especially if started in high school football crazy Texas, why couldn’t the gate pay salaries to players (albeit not massive ones) and give players a way to make a living rather than being subject to corrupt NCAA? Better players move on to NFL. Would love to see the high school senior 5 star players doing press conferences and pulling out a club football team hat rather than a college. Think of the free marketing on a few of those.

    Comment by markrmohler -

  7. One thing I haven’t seen in this discussion so far: is the NCAA opening itself up to a huge anti-trust suit?

    Comment by roberb7 -

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  9. In my plan, the Big East becomes the fifth mega-conference with a perfect 12 team, 2 division football conference and a 20 team, 4 division basketball conference.

    Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State to Pac-16.

    Texas A&M to SEC.

    TCU, Houston, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Missouri, Memphis to the Big East. If Houston says no, you just slip in SMU.

    Rutgers and West Virginia to the ACC.

    Notre Dame remains independent in football and Big East everywhere else.

    So, the Big 12 dies, Big Ten stays at 12. You have five mega-conferences totaling 69 football schools (until SEC adds a 14th school) and 77 basketball schools. Just look at the media markets of the 20 Big East schools to see why it is a mega-conference!

    12 game season over 12 weeks.

    You go down to 16 official bowls and begin a 32 team playoff tournament on Saturday November 26, Semi-Finals December 17, skip Christmas week and the Championship game on Sunday, January 1.

    Comment by pbpsean66 -

  10. Hey Mark, while you’re at Shark Tank, ask them how many people from the Dallas casting call made the show. I’ll bet of the 130 entrants you have to sit through, 5 tops come from this side of the Rockies. What a waste of time.

    Comment by masatenisimi -

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  15. You’ve got to go east or west to generate national attention.
    Why are the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East?

    Comment by rwrench -

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  18. Whoops…meant “fall semester”…obviously…

    Comment by thatdudeinhouston -

  19. Mark,

    Why don’t you just start a post season tournament for college football? Begin as an 8 team, invitation only college football tournament outside of the NCAA.

    The NIT began in a similar fashion.

    Most of the bowls payouts are ridiculously low. You could easily get 8 teams by promising as little as $1Mil per game to each team and a bonus to all teams based on end revenue/profit share. This would be much better deal than many, many schools get currently.

    Start the tournament after most schools have finished the spring semester.

    Seed the teams and give home games to the highest seeds for the first 2 rounds.

    Have a 2 week break in between the semi-finals and the final. This will allow plenty of time for fans to arrange travel…and more importantly gives plenty of time for media hype.

    After the game crown the First EVER…top division college football tournament champion. Give a huge trophy. Laugh at the dying bowls. Make lots of money.

    In 2 seasons this tournament would be giant. You could double or more the payout and get top level teams. In the 3rd or 4th year you can make a play for the top teams.

    Even if the NCAA finally starts its own playoff your MC Invitational could live on by taking schools that don’t make big show as its a much better format than bowls.

    Give me a call if you need somebody to run it.

    Cheers

    Comment by thatdudeinhouston -

  20. One thing that gets lost in all of this is what makes the SEC the best conference in college football. It’s the compelling story lines created not just by the quality of the teams but by the regional rivalries as well. Every game has a significant number of visiting fans because most every game is drivable. Once we add ATM, you start to lose some of that. The next domino to fall with be the SEC championship game in Atlanta. Jerry Jones will offer a pot of money to have the game in Dallas, then the game will start rotating between sites like the ACC moving from city to city to the highest bidder. This is a terrible idea. The current setup in Atlanta every year is unbeatable. All the SEC fans love visiting Atlanta because it is the capital of the South. Add ATM and all the Houston and Dallas fans won’t ca about going to Atlanta. Atlanta doesn’t have anything that their home towns have.

    The most over played aspect of this is TV markets. The SEC is the most watched conference because of their compelling stories and great traditions. Adding teams that detract from that will hurt the ratings regardless of the TV markets those teams bring. The ACC and the PAC-10 have great tv markets but their product is not near as compelling as the SEC’s.

    Comment by dtbeasley -

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  22. Mark,

    You are missing the big picture – you are correct in that in the short term there will be more games with a larger number of mismatches. And you are correct in that the weaker teams like Vandy, Duke, etc. will tire of having their brains beaten out each week. So what will they do? They will leave and form their own conferences of similar schools. They will be happy to sell a modest TV package, offer scholarships to real “student athletes” and draw 25K fans per game. It will be like the Ivy League but on a somewhat larger scale.

    Why is this a win-win? Because with the weak sisters gone the SEC will transform back into a smaller (8 or 10) team league only instead of being strapped with Vandy, Miss St., etc. they will get to replace them with monsters like Oklahoma, Texas, or whatever football loving school they choose. Their TV money will be higher than today, schools will make more, and best of all they will get huge matchups weekly with the same rivals they have now plus a few new ones (think LSU vs. Texas). After all, nobody counts Ole Miss or Vandy as rivals.

    Oh, and the next step? The remaining “strong team only” conferences will break away from the NCAA and form their own governing body that will employ the rules they truly want – pay for play, no limit on practice time, recruiting via any media they choose as often as they choose, etc. – essentially a true minor league system masked as college football.

    See the big picture my friend…..and welcome it with open arms!

    Comment by jakemalloy97 -

  23. Hey Mark, while you’re at Shark Tank, ask them how many people from the Dallas casting call made the show. I’ll bet of the 130 entrants you have to sit through, 5 tops come from this side of the Rockies. What a waste of time.

    Comment by hailguardian -

  24. Mark,

    I hear you are soon to head to LA for the 2nd phase of Shark Tank filming. I will be in LA from Sept 11 to 15 doing demonstrations and presentations to manufacturers interested in an exclusive with Hail Guardian. What an ironic and painful coincidence. If they have no shows or get sick of broccoli wads, have them give me a call and I can be to the studio in 30 minutes. My phone number is on http://www.hailguardian.com. Not desperate, just don’t like to lose and I never ever give up. I’m sure you can appreciate that.

    Comment by hailguardian -

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  32. Mark, I won’t try to debate the merits of the super conference since you understand TV revenues much more than myself. I will though tell you that from an Aggie perspective, the move makes perfect sense.

    1) All of our games but 1 will be guaranteed to be televised. Even if we have to play Sunday or Tuesday nights that is a blessing. For all of your talk of regional rivalries, the A&M/Tech game was not televised the last 2 years which did nothing but hurt both teams while giving OU and tu that much more money/exposure.

    2) A&M which has one of the top game day experiences in all of college football will get to put that on display more often with super games in the SEC west, the permanent east rival and the rotating east games.

    If Va Tech is the 14th team and our permanent rival we would get home game rotations of Alabama or Auburn, LSU or Ark (when the jerry world contract expires), MSU or Ole Miss, Va Tech, and one of FL,GA, Tenn, SC, KY, VB for an 9 game conference schedule and every other year we would play tu at home if they are not too chicken to continue.

    Pick the most compelling matchups week to week:
    A&M/Auburn vs. tu/Ok.st
    A&M/Alabama vs. tu/Arizona
    A&M/MSU vs tu/tech
    A&M/ole Miss vs tu/ASU
    A&M/LSU vs. tu/OU
    A&M/Ark vs. tu/Col
    A&M/VaTech vs. tu/utah
    A&M/FL vs. tu/USC

    A&M does not win all of those matchups be we win enough and some are pretty darn close.

    3) A&M has already sold out season and student tickets this last year of the big 12. This is the first time this has happened. Kyle will be expanded and soon 95-105k will be the norm in college station for 5-7 games a year. If 86k will show up for a season opener for SMU how crazy will the SEC schedule get?

    4) This is about A&M’s political future. How does a change in sports conference affect our political position? Well People don’t understand that A&M has finally grown to the point that we no longer have to bow down to the wishes of those that have more political pull than us. Now that our alumni number ~400k we are one of top 20 largest alumni bases and no longer can tu, baylor etc keep us from getting things like a law school, or maybe adding a medical school, or heck having a basketball arena bigger than the Erwin center.

    Yes 2 of those 3 things were denied us via the legislature in the past. No longer. With the size of our alumni and the advent of social networking you would have to be a politician with a career suicide wish to try and deny A&M a law school the next time it comes up. Most people do not realize that since 1994 when the the big 12 was formed and we wanted to go SEC we have added 160k alumni and the others have grown up to have more political pull.

    So just from A&M’s perspective this is going to be a huge win. Seems like everyone except A&M gets to do what’s best for them without acrimonious accusations. Wonder why we keep getting told to sit at the back of the bus and STFU? Oh well we will continue to push our school to new heights no matter the resistance.

    Comment by usabilitydotcom -

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  35. Mark,

    I hated the idea of super-conferences until I figured the scheduling out, and then everything else followed. So here goes:

    Four divisions of four teams each means that Texas, OU, Ok.St., and A&M (or TT if A&M couldn’t be convinced) would be your AL East. USC, UCLA, Stanford, and Cal would be your NL East. Then Oregon, Or.St., Washington, and Wa.St. would make a great regional division with some larger appeal, and Utah, Arizona, Az.St., and Colorado, the remaining division.

    Scheduling would look like this: Each team plays each of their division rivals every year and half of each of the other three divisions. This makes a total of nine conference games. The winners of each division would play in a conference semi-final, feeding into the conference title game. So in a conference with sixteen teams, twelve would play nine conference games, two would play ten, and two would play eleven. This, in essence, accomplishes two rounds of a sixteen-team playoff. Then the bowl season is the third round, and a “plus one” game makes the fourth and final round. This set-up accomplishes a sixteen-team playoff within the confines of the academic schedule.

    Because two teams will play eleven conference games, non-conference games need to be limited to one game. But this limits all teams’ games. So the twelve teams that don’t win their division need to be nimble with scheduling two non-conference games for two weeks during the conference semi-finals and final. This would be easily accomplished by forming a partnership with another sixteen-team conference.

    Recruiting would be preserved, and even expanded. By playing your division rivals every year, you preserve your primary recruiting grounds. But by playing every conference opponent every-other year, you form strong secondary-rivalries, and more importantly, you visit every stadium every four years. Thus, you can still promise every recruit that they’ll be able to play in front of friends and family, in person. This actually works out much better in a PAC-10, -12, or -16 because of the way that schools are paired. In essence, even non-division opponents will make a trip to Southern California every other year, the Bay Area every other year, etc.

    So Texas’ schedule over the course of two years would look like this (assume they win their division in year 1, and don’t in year 2).

    Year 1:

    SMU (non-conference)
    A&M / Tech
    Oklahoma
    Ok. St.
    USC
    UCLA
    Washington
    Wa. St.
    Utah
    Colorado
    Oregon (PAC-16 semi-final)
    Stanford (PAC-16 final)
    Penn State (Rose Bowl)
    LSU (BCS Championship)

    Year 2:
    UTEP (non-conference)
    A&M / Tech
    Oklahoma
    Ok. St.
    Stanford
    Cal
    Oregon
    Or. St.
    Arizona
    Az. St.
    Auburn (non-conference pairing)
    Ole Miss (non-conference pairing)
    Boston College (lower-tiered bowl game)

    All in all, four sixteen-team conferences could completely transform college football for the better.

    Comment by John Moore -

  36. Thinking you meant to say ‘law of unintended consequences’?

    Comment by jmaendler -

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  40. Mark,

    I find it odd that I disagree with you on sports and economics considering that you are pretty much Supreme Commander of the Universe on this subject, but here I go.

    There is a huge misunderstanding of where wealth is derived in college sports, particularly college football. Let’s look at the University of Texas. Texas makes $20MM-30MM more per year than the next school, Georgia, and it has nothing to do with TV. It is because TEXAS kicks everyone elses tail in season ticket sales. In 2009-2010, Texas only made about 15% of its revenue from TV.

    The reason why TEXAS has so much money is because there is massive demand for the Red River Rivalry in Dallas as the tickets are divided evenly between TEXAS and OU. As a result, TEXAS season ticket holders have to give roughly $800 to the Longhorn Foundation just to get tickets. For the good seats its more, way more.

    Look at school #2, Georgia. Georgia has the annual World’s Largest Cocktail Party with Florida every year which creates huge demand for season tickets.

    The point is that while the Superconferences may not create more TV revenue, they will create more demand for season tickets, especially at the big schools with the big stadiums that can monetize the demand.

    If TEXAS joins the Pac-12, I guarantee it will cost TEXAS fans more money to get OU tickets. It will boost sales across the board at each and every school. Maybe USC won’t have such a hard time selling out the Coliseum.

    Superconferences are going to be a huge money maker. And more games to chose from means better TV ratings.

    I completely agree that holding on to rivalries is crucial.

    Comment by akismet-657e9a1a0d87643c9a4af30478149fdd -

    • i dont think the super conferences will create more demand for tickets. UT vs any Texas or Oklahoma school having a good year is going to be a decent rivalry that drives local and visitor sales. When UT is playing a weak sister in the Pac 99, its going to reduce interest, not increase it. And even games against the biggest and strongest Pac 99 schools arent going to draw the interest after the first couple years as games local rivals. Now some of that will be minimized when multiple Texas /Ok schools move, but the rivalries wont be nearly as strong.

      There is huge value when siblings or spouses or friends , who tend to go to schools within driving distance , have their alma maters play against each other. That creates rivalry.

      So i think ticket sales ultimately get hurt AND tv revenues get hurt.

      Comment by markcuban -

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  43. Your opinion is not quite as contrary as you may think. Lots of folks agree. What you’re really saying is the BCS sucks. What do you think about a playoff? Changing that changes everything.

    A playoff all but guarantees 2 teams from the “super” conferences get into the playoff. The athletes will need to have their regular seasons drop one game, but the super conference that equally shares TV money will make out better in the long run. It just so happens that a 16 team conference gives you the ability to do that and a conference title game and the playoffs. You know the bowl games aren’t going away, so really you’re adding 3 or 4 big money games.

    You’ll get better football in the case of the SEC and Pac-16. You’ll get more parity (better games) should all those left out of the supers form their own supers.

    If anyone understands bucking the TV money system it’s you. However, deep down you know increasing the number of households generates greater ad revenue which will be pushed out to the conferences. The free market economist in you knows the SEC and Pac-16 would own the eyeballs and their product (supply) is constrained.

    Comment by mosimmons -

    • i actually dont have a problem with the BCS. The bigger problem is the fact that there are no “bracket buster:” games that are matched up during the regular season. But im working onthat :)

      Comment by markcuban -

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  45. Sounds like UT has ticked off everyone in the conference and now none of UT’s mates wants to be associated with them anymore.
    I don’t see the P12 inviting UT for the same reason, they’re a prima-donna. As a result, I think UT tries to go it alone and keep their $$ & their TV Network for themselves.

    The remaining B12 schools (minus OK, OSU and maybe MO) add the best from C-USA and MWC and keep trucking.

    Comment by jdhank -

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  47. Completely ridiculous post by krizoitz: “In addition when you have uneven revenue sharing like the Big 12 does, more money goes to only a handful of programs. The Big 12 doomed themselves with that model.”

    Newsflash: Texas A&M reaped the benefits of the unequal distribution as much as anyone! Nebraska, Texas, OU, and aTm all received larger distributions than the other 8, and they are the ones that are whining and crying about it. See the problem? They want to have their cake and eat it too. Those 4 consistently have voted against equal revenue sharing, so save your incorrect comments, please. That includes the whiny aTm, whose incredible jealousy is going to put them in a division where they will be lucky to finish 4th year in and year out. aTm was barely competitive in the Big 12…how do you expect they’ll do in the SEC?

    Comment by Kyle Seiwert -

  48. Seems to me like an optimization problem, and certainly Mark’s points are inputs to that, but I think they are probably outweighed by the return. Let’s start with what a 16 team conference gets:

    1) More schools could mean more TV money – More marquee matchups could mean more money. A 16 team conference could mean 3 or 4 really good games each week. Move one to Thursday night, then a 12, 3 & prime time matchup on Saturdays – you’ve now got 8 of your 16 teams on National TV each week. Take a scheduling approach like the NFL where they get to choose that prime time game on Sunday nights and it could mean more money for the conference because it’s both higher quantity and quality.

    2) Fans are loyal and are going to watch their team play. Online or very early as suggested, just draws more viewers in general. Mark makes that point – this is win for the TV and the conference coffers, perhaps not for fans, but you’ll watch your team anyway.

    3) Say goodbye to cupcake football games – The small schools will suffer – but the fans won’t with more quality games and the networks won’t – nor will the BCS debate – If there’s 4 Super conferences, I would suggest that makes a playoff format almost inevitable. 4 Super conference winners and 4 at large bids – That’s what I would love to see as a fan.

    4) Goodbye geographical games? I doubt it. Those are huge $$ draws for those schools and they would sacrifice a cupcake for that $$.

    5) Big Dogs hate becoming little dogs – Inevitable. It’s the reason Texas A&M wants to leave – they feel like they don’t get the recognition from recruits that Texas gets and hope that by playing in the SEC those Texas recruits will be lured to the SEC fame. . Here’s the upside: It’s the equivalent of regulation in the premiere league. After not gaining traction, you make a move and find another avenue for success. Capitalism.

    For the networks, conferences and neutral fans this could be a win.

    For the big 12 – the option is simple – become the BIG 16.

    1) The Big 12 becomes the AL east – I’m an Orioles fan, and I basically think we are screwed in the AL East. I see Tampa Bay as a fleeting interest – yep, for now they have a chance, but soon enough it will rotate, The Blue Jays and the O’s will eventually be back in that cycle as the third team in the Yankees / Boston Rival. The O’s were there not to long ago, until Jeffrey Maier, and then it’s all been downhill. Point is – Sox / Yankees looks like a mainstay, Texas – OU could be the same in the Big 16. Everyone else will be happy to have a shot for the reasons listed above.

    2) Money, Money, Money – Get ahead of the game. By becoming a 16 team conference now, you’ve beaten other conferences to the punch. Take advantage and reap the benefits listed above.

    3) Out of Conference TV Ready Games – The ACC – Big Ten challenge at the beginning of every basketball season is a huge draw. This is a fans pipe dream. Can you imagine two conferences battling each other in the first few weeks of the season instead of scheduling those cupcake games? That LSU – Oregon game becomes the norm at this point in the season.

    4) Larger stipends? – I’m in the dark on this one. I think if the conference has more money for the reasons listed above, they have the ability to market, enhance stadiums, etc. . . Probably helps their ability to draw in that new quality school when one of the bottom dwellers falls off.

    If you are a school and considering making a move, it’s going to be an optimization problem for you. Optimize exposure, revenue and hopefully the experience for the fan – though that last part only happens if it is a result of the first two.

    Comment by psmcgarrity -

  49. Aggy out of here… would you people quit crying about it and JUST MOVE ON. Sad.

    Comment by elgoob -

  50. Um, how exactly is realigning the conferences going to change what time games are played? Its not like there are going to be more or less teams playing football. Sorry but that is a completely bogus argument.

    Also, how exactly to geographic rivalry games stop happening? Texas is still going to have to play 12 games a season, now instead of playing Kansas or Nebraska regularly they’ll play Arizona and Colorado, big deal. For conferences like the Pac-12/Pac-16 it actually INCREASES geographic rivalries by restoring the Pac-8 teams in one division.

    More schools will absolutely mean more money, conferences will be able to negotiate from a stronger position. You don’t think that the Pac-16 having USC, Oregon, Oklahoma AND Texas as marquee schools and controlling most of the major media markets west of the Mississippi is going to be less appealing than the Pac-10 was?

    You claim that by remaining in the Big 12 schools will get more money. How? With more leagues the networks have more options who they can negotiate with and wider selection means less bargaining strength. In addition when you have uneven revenue sharing like the Big 12 does, more money goes to only a handful of programs. The Big 12 doomed themselves with that model.

    Why should Texas A&M remain in a conference with schools who want to push it around (Texas) and take more money when it can join a conference where it will be treated as an equal? Where it can differentiate itself from an in state rival whose media clout has allowed it to move into a stronger position? No, for A&M its a no brainer. No longer will they have to follow Texas’ lead and let DeLoss Dodds call the shots.

    Finally your claim about out of conference games is also flawed. The Pac-12 already plays a 9 game schedule, the Pac-16 would do the same, 7 division, 2 cross division games. Still 3 games for scheduling teams like LSU. No the bigger impediment to great cross conference games are chicken schools like most of the SEC who refuse to travel outside their home stadium to play non-conference opponents. LSU is the rare exception. Florida hasn’t done it since 1991. TWENTY YEARS without an away non-conference game played outside the state of Florida. Boise State played Georgia this weekend, but only because the Broncos were willing to go there, any chance you’ll see the Bulldogs return the favor and travel to Boise? Nope.

    Stick to basketball Mark, college football isn’t your thing.

    Comment by krizoitz -

    • 1. The number of games for the owner of the Pac 99 tv rights does change. Every team may play the same number of games, but the broadcast partner doesnt add broadcast slots when the conference grows bigger. They will push them to partner networks or to online to build traffic there.

      2. More schools wont mean more money. The deals are already negotiated, except for the Big 12.

      3. The Pac 12 will have to put the new schools into games with the West Coast Division. Maybe not at the beginning, but very quickly. The strong schools will want to play the week schools and vice versa.

      4. Travelling to Kansas is not like traveling to the states of Oregon and Washington. Ever

      Comment by markcuban -

  51. Mark
    Really love your blog and it is clear to me you know what you are talking about. It will be very important for the Big 12 to stick together as it will only increase the value of each others program.
    I have become a huge college football fan over the past few years (it is hard to follow it when i lived in Scotland) and i have my own tipping site now as well on ussportsbetting.wordpress.com which made me look more into rpograms and school options.
    think it is really vital to look at what options schools have in regards to their program and future.

    Vince
    USsportsbetting

    Comment by ussportsbetting -

  52. Dear Mr. Cuban,
    First off, congrats on winning the NBA Finals, i’m sure that was one of the best nights of your life.
    Second: Congrats for banking on your investment with Avion, that was pretty awesome.
    Lastly, I would love for you to take a look at a website and friend and I started in March. SportsandFood.com – We want to be the ESPN of all things sports and food related, in any way humanly possible. Our blog has nice legs and we’ve done fairly well considering very few dollars spent, everyone involved has or currently works for a major media company, including ESPN. We have good contacts but need to backing to take this thing to another level. Any feedback at all would be amazing and incredibly decent of you. Thank you for your time!

    -Mike

    mcellucci@sportsandfood.com

    Comment by sportsandfood -

  53. Pingback: Texas A&M Leaving Big 12 - Page 455 - CycloneFanatic

  54. Pingback: Pac-16's potential impact on Arizona

  55. I agree that the money impact won’t be as great as some think. You can add too many teams. The difference between what A&M will make in the Big 12 vs. SEC is not that much.

    As fun as it would be as a Sooner fan to play some west coast teams, we will likely only get them to Norman every 8 years. That part makes it less exciting than it could have been.

    However, I think you are wrong on the impact on the cupcakes. No one will play a major out of conference game instead of playing 3 cupcakes. The games that will get cut out are the cross-regional match-ups. In fact, I think you contradict yourself when you say larger conferences will prevent playing the cupcake games, but then say that the smaller conference allows for big non-conference games(there will be non-conference games and I suspect they will be cupcakes). Not sure that having cupcake games is a positive either.

    As for the scheduling times for games, it cannot get much worse for fans than it already has. Growing up games were almost always played in the afternoon. Once TV took over, they started getting spread out over an entire day. It is great as a TV watching fan. There is always football on. It is great. For fans travelling to games, we already are stuck with bad start times. OU has 6 home games and 4 are currently set for evening starts. The other two haven’t been set. OU-Texas, which is the greatest college rivalry going, is at 11:00 am again. A terrible start time for the fans. And it has been nearly every year over the last 10.

    Comment by soonertravis -

  56. Cubes is right.

    The only teams that the conferences should add are the big-time programs, like a Texas, Oklahoma or Notre Dame. Bringing in two second-tier programs really doesn’t move the needle much in the long term and it surely doesn’t bring in a bigger bottom line economically.

    Comment by elliotmann -

  57. Pingback: Mark Cuban thinks four, 16-team leagues is bad idea - HawkeyeNation Forum

  58. Pingback: Super 64: Who is In, Who is Out? | BiggerTen.com | Big 10 Football & Basketball

  59. Excellent analysis, that doesn’t really matter to me, as an ‘SC grad.

    Comment by Matches Malone -

  60. Not going to happen Mark.

    TAMU wants out from under UT and packed its bag and ready to go.

    Boren played chess while everyone else was playing checkers. Boren has wanted the Pac-12 more then anyone but wanted Texas to come with them. Now that the Big 12 is down to nine losing OU and OSU would leave the conference impotent. By TAMU leaving, UT lost its leverage with OU and now UT will go with OU, OSU, TTU to the Pac-12. The only other options would be to head to the Big10G, with no natural rivalries or the SEC which the faculty would scream about. No this one is decided. Boren effectively killed the conference when he announced his intentions on Friday. No one is going to join until this has all shaken out.

    Mizzou and TAMU will go to the SEC, which will stop at 14.
    UT, OU, OSU, TTU will go the Pac-12 becoming the PAC-16.
    The ACC stays pat because I honestly think no one is dynamiting out those schools
    The Big East (football) either splits off and takes the remnants of the Big 12 and a few others (SMU, Houston, BYU, Boise State, etc) to build a geographic conference or gets blown up when the Big-10 G comes calling and takes some of its schools.

    No the Boren statement was the Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand moment of the entire thing and will be able to look back and point at it as the moment that brought about the super conferences.

    Either the Big Eas

    Comment by hangtime79 -

  61. Interesting that you dont make an argument for any expansion to fill the hole left by A&M. Do you suggest moving forward as a 9 team league? Doesn’t this lead to this exact situation every time one of the big players in the conference decides to make a power move?

    Comment by thewire782 -

  62. I love how Mark thinks. Still so happy for him and the Mavs…and I’m a Bulls fan!

    Comment by trainingwheelsforaaron -

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