Texas A&M and Missouri will be leaving for the rough-and-tumble SEC pastures next year, but they won’t get off scot-free. Each school has agreed to pay the Big 12 Conference $12.4 million as penalty for leaving the conference without giving two years notice.
Looking beyond the initial price tag, however, illuminates how ready the Big 12 Conference is for this saga to end.
According to the bylaws of the Big 12, both Texas A&M and Missouri should have been required to pay two years’ worth of revenue back to the conference for breaching the notification rule—an amount that would have hovered somewhere just shy of $30 million. Neither school will end up paying even half of that.
In fact, Texas A&M negotiated in their exit settlement to receive a small portion of contract revenue from the new Big 12 deal with Fox Sports. Therefore, they’ll only be paying a total of $9.31 million, or less than a third of what should be required. Missouri agreed to waive their rights to any benefits of the new deal.
None of this is shocking, or new, for the Big 12. In the past two seasons, four members (Missouri, Texas A&M, Colorado, and Nebraska) have all left to join other conferences. According to David Ubben of ESPN, the Big 12 has only received $37.83 million in exit fees instead of the almost $100 million that should have been required from those schools.
What this signifies is that the Big 12, and Texas, are ready to move on. Texas is the crank that turns the Big 12 machine. For two years, the Big 12 was on the verge of collapse, and the Longhorns were linked to every other major college conference at one point or another. Things got messy, feelings were hurt, and Texas A&M scooted out the door with three other members.
Texas was able to glue the pieces back together and resuscitate a seemingly dead conference, but it wasn’t easy. This latest $12.4 million settlement? That’s the Big 12’s way of saying, “Just go.”
Done with the drama, the legal fees, and constant rumors of realignment (Baylor), the Big 12 is keen on welcoming its two new members, TCU and West Virginia, and focusing on athletics again. It’s a welcome peace that has been absent for the last few years, but that sense of peace has come at a price.
Photo courtesy Flickr user Sarowen.