This is not your father’s college football. The entire gaming landscape has changed dramatically in the past two years, and the changes keep coming.
On Thursday, the Big Ten announced a historic new $8 billion media rights deal with Fox, CBS and NBC. It is the largest deal in NCAA history and is intended to eventually benefit every other major college sports conference.
There is one clause in the new deal that should be of particular interest to Red Raiders fans that could help the Big 12 sooner rather than later.
The clause that adds another $2 billion to the deal should the Big Ten expand again. And this is not a random addition either. Clearly, the Big Ten isn’t done adding teams, and they anticipate further expansion soon.
It’s no secret that the Big Ten is interested in adding Notre Dame, and then would want Stanford to keep the Fighting Irish-Cardinal rivalry alive. But Notre Dame seems determined to remain independent. So what’s next for the Big Ten?
Action Network’s Brett Murphy revealed, “Even after adding USC and UCLA, the Big Ten is ‘not done’ expanding, sources told Action Network. Regardless of whether Notre Dame s ‘joins the Big Ten or remains independent, the league still wants to add more Pac-12 schools to help reduce potential travel issues for USC and UCLA, sources said.
With the loss of USC and UCLA, the PAC-12 is struggling to stay afloat, and other conferences have already talked about a possible poaching of the remaining teams.
And it only makes sense for conferences like the Big Ten, the Big 12 and the SEC.
If the Big Ten gets aggressive about starting the escalator clause in its new deal, it could target teams like Oregon and Washington. And if they jump ship, it would be the equivalent of pulling the plug on a PAC-12 that’s already on life support.
That would open the door for the Big 12 to come calling on schools to find a new home. Schools like Utah, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado. It would be a huge win for a Big 12 that is struggling to stay relevant after the departures of Texas and Oklahoma in 2025.
New Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark visited Lubbock recently during his all-conference tour, and it looked like the Big 12 might become aggressive suitors when he spoke with the Lubbock Avalance-Diary on his remarks at Big 12 Media Days about the conference being “open for business.”
“When I say ‘open for business,’ that means this conference will no longer be stagnant,” Yormark said. “We will be very proactive. We will explore and identify all opportunities that create value in all aspects. Is expansion part of “open for business”? One hundred percent. But it’s only a small piece.”
No one knows what Yormark has in mind for the future of the Big 12, but it’s clear he’s not ready to sit back and let the new college football landscape pass him by.
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