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Big 12 committee considering proposals to keep Texas, Oklahoma in conference

Published: Jul. 25, 2021 at 7:15 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - University presidents for Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas Tech met with the Big 12 Executive Committee on Sunday to discuss proposals to try and “strengthen the conference.”

The meeting was described as “cordial” as leaders search for “mutually beneficial” solutions to keep the conference together.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports says the conference is considering additional half-shares of revenue for Texas and Oklahoma, bumping their payouts to approximately $56 million per year. Dodd says Big 12 schools currently average $37 million in annual TV rights earnings, including revenue from bowl games and the NCAA Tournament.

The Big 12 released this statement on Sunday evening:

The Big 12 Conference Executive Committee, consisting of Big 12 Board of Directors chairman and Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec and Baylor University President Linda Livingstone; and Commissioner Bob Bowlsby met by videoconference Sunday afternoon with University of Oklahoma President Joe Harroz and University of Texas President Jay Hartzell.

“The meeting was cordial, and the Executive Committee expressed a willingness to discuss proposals that would strengthen the Conference and be mutually beneficial to OU and UT, as well as the other member institutions of the Conference,” Bowlsby stated. “I expect that we will continue our conversations in the days ahead and we look forward to discussing thoughts, ideas and concepts that may be of shared interest and impact.”

Lubbock Chamber asks Abbott to intervene

Locally, the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce is asking Gov. Greg Abbott to intervene in the matter, citing the huge economic impact of Big 12 football, saying West Texas has felt “left behind” by Austin in recent years, writing “Last session,Texas Tech fought tooth and nail for a new school of veterinary medicine to address a statewide workforce shortage of veterinarians. We have advocated for more than two decades for expansion of I-27 so that we can move products and services to the rest of the country.”

The letter says, “Between 2004 and 2013, UT received nearly $1 billion from the state’s Permanent University Fund. These dollars are extracted almost exclusively from land in West Texas, but Texas Tech doesn’t receive a dime.”

You can see the full text of the Chamber’s letter in our story here.

Lubbock Chamber President & CEO Eddie McBride spoke with Kase Wilbanks on Sunday:

“We do know that if you use a measure such as a football game, the Texas and Oklahoma games bring in the most money of any event for the entire year,” McBride said.

“On a weekend, whether it be graduations, whether it be major sporting events of non-Texas Tech nature, nothing compares to those types of weekends.”

“Baseball brings in a lot of money, basketball, tennis, all of those bring in a less amount of money than football, we know that but the fact of the matter is that it really spreads throughout the community, and anytime that you pinch Texas Tech, Lubbock is going to hurt.”

“It’s pretty bad when you have to insert politics into this. But if it takes politics to make it happen, we hope that the governor understands that the the political end of this might be the only way that we can end up getting this to happen, as far as keeping the Big 12 together, if nothing else.”

Proposal in Texas Legislature

Lubbock Representative Dustin Burrows is one of 30 Texas legislators signing on to a bill that would require universities to get a majority vote in both chambers before changing membership in an athletic conference.

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