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Report: ESPN will pay $10 million to Big 12 to remove pro rata clause

Laugh. Out. Loud. Nice work, Bowlsby.

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Day Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 Conference isn’t going to expand past 10 teams in the near future and won’t even get a big payout from the television networks, as previously anticipated.

According to Forbes sports business reporter Kristi Dosh, the conference will only receive $10 million from ESPN over the remainder of the Big 12’s television agreement to remove the pro rata clause — only $1 million per school in negligible payments.

The other television partner, FOX, managed to avoid any payments by simply keeping the pro rata clause in the conference’s contract.

Commissioner Bob Bowlsby maintains that negotiations are still ongoing.

The news, if true, represents another dud for the conference, which held almost all the leverage in expansion with the pro rata clause worth $25 million per school.

However, with a lack of ideal candidates and the pressure from the networks not to add schools and significantly increase costs, the conference weakly capitulated, as Oklahoma president and Big 12 chair David Boren in particular looked foolish for his bombastic comments early in the process.

Maybe instead of being “psychologically disadvantaged,” the conference is mentally disadvantaged due to mental deficiencies.

With the news that ESPN will pay virtually nothing and FOX will actually pay nothing, it’s the conference overall that once again looks foolish — since Oklahoma and Texas will likely leave the Big 12 after the current grant of rights expires in the 2024-25 season, this was the last big opportunity for the league to get paid.

Now it appears that commissioner Bob Bowlsby bungled that, too.

Sure, the conference will benefit from a conference championship game this year, but will continue to lag behind the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC. The ACC, for instance, just added a conference network to increase revenues, all while the Big 12 flailed about like an Air Dancer in heavy winds.


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