After all, the conference is looking to expand – likely by four teams – and the crop they have to choose from does not look all that enticing. The likes of Houston, Memphis, Cincinnati, central Florida, and even BYU do not scream “move the needle” to their television partners ESPN and Fox.
And to make matters worse, both ESPN and Fox are none too thrilled with the Big 12 going through such expansion. It is a straight money grab thanks to a clause in those contracts – and all parties know it.
This eerily reminds me of what the old Big East tried to pull on ESPN a few years ago.
For those who do not recall, in 2011 ESPN offered the Big East a new media rights deal which would have paid it $1.4 billion over nine years. For some reason, former Big East commissioner/total boob John Marinatto and university presidents inexplicably turned the deal down, thinking they were getting hosed when they saw other conference deals (notably the Pac-12) at the time.
And if you either are old enough to remember or watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 feature “Requiem for The Big East”, you’d remember that it led to the Big East’s extinction as we knew it.
Last week I gave my two cents on who the Big 12 should invite. I was working under the following assumptions:
- The Big 12 was not going to expand by four teams as its being widely reported.
- ESPN and Fox wouldn’t be pissed with any Big 12 expansion.
Now I’m wondering if expansion is only delaying the inevitable conference extinction. That is what’s going to happen if the Big 12 insists on this game of chicken with ESPN and Fox.
Especially with ESPN…