On Friday, eight athletic directors from Big 12 schools met with Learfield Sports to discuss developing a Big 12 sports network. Although Texas A&M’s AD Bill Byrne said the conversation “was nothing out of the ordinary,” the gathering was the latest sign that the conference is getting serious.
The Big Ten started the trend in 2007, launching their own network. Commentors were originally skeptical, but it paid out $72 million to members schools in 2009 and other universities want to copy the plan.
The Big 12, which will lose Nebraska to the Big 10 in 2011 (partially because of network money) and Colorado in 2011 or 2012, needs to rally its schools to keep them from leaving. One problem: Texas’ rights aren’t managed by Learfield Sports, and the school reportedly wants to develop its own channel.
“If they can pull that off, my hat’s off to them,” Byrne said. “We’re just having preliminary discussions right now to gauge the level of interest.”
College sports continue their inevitable decline into being about money, money, money.