Dan Beebe: Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma Will Get Bigger Slice of Exit Money
And, oh yeah: five of the programs that would have been left behind also said they would guarantee that Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma would receive a greater percentage of the exit fee money that Nebraska and Colorado will be required to pay for leaving for the Big Ten and Pac-10, respectively.
"The five institutions [Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State and Baylor] that weren't being pursued as dramatically as, at least, Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma, those five institutions were looking at a possibility of very difficult future, even if they repopulated the Big 12 -- in terms of their future media value looking at significantly less revenue," Beebe said. "They came together ... [the future] didn't look very good without Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma.
"Those five decided as they looked at their future media value and were willing, if necessary, to use some of the distribution [money] that they get from the departing members to make sure Texas A&M, Texas and Oklahoma were induced to stay with them and stay in the conference."
A Big 12 official said that Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma have not accepted any offer for exit fee revenue and no formal plan has been proposed.
Beebe said the exact dollar figure Colorado and Nebraska will owe the league in exit fees is unknown, but various media estimates indicate it would be between $6-10 million per school.
Beebe, who's been the league's commissioner since 2007, faced his greatest challenge in trying to keep together a league that appeared to be splintering apart. Colorado had already announced it was leaving for the Pac-10 and Nebraska to the Big Ten and the Pac-10, SEC and Big Ten were pursuing Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
"A lot of people thought it wouldn't be good for college athletics if the Big 12 no longer existed," said Beebe, who indicated several individuals outside the conference assisted in helping save the Big 12.
A big part was the opportunity for individual schools, such as Texas, to have the opportunity to pursue its own television network. However, Beebe said while Texas has been unfairly singled out for this, other league members also are looking into doing the same.
Beebe also said previous media reports indicating a future TV deal for the league had been reached were not accurate, but said he has received "verification from consultants that we are in a tremendous position to reach agreements to put us on par with anyone in the country."
Beebe added ESPN/ABC and Fox told the league they would not decrease the value of the Big 12's TV deal with two fewer members.
Obviously the key component, though, to keeping the league intact was keeping Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma happy. Those three schools were "hotly pursued by a number of conferences," Beebe said, meaning that some combination of the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-10 were after the Big 12's "Big Three."
"All three were desirable to others and could have left for a very good guaranteed situation," Beebe said.
Of the 10 remaining Big 12 members, only Texas Tech has not formally committed to remaining in the Big 12, but Beebe said he expected that commitment to come Tuesday afternoon.
Other topics during the teleconference: Beebe said the league has no plans to expand beyond 10 teams, schools would play nine football conference games and 18 basketball conference games, guaranteeing home-and-home series for all 10 schools.
As far as continuing with a Big 12 football championship game? "We can petition the NCAA [to have one with less than 12 conference members], but I'm not sure we're going to do that," he said.
Beebe also indicated the league would revisit its exit requirements to "see if those are adequate."
If the past few weeks are indication, they are not.
Beebe said he didn't know for sure the league would remain together until Monday.
"It's been a very significant roller coaster ride," Beebe said.
Beebe said the league's board of directors still needs to draw up a binding contract to determine the length of the commitment for the 10 schools to the Big 12.
"My full anticipation is we're going to have a level of commitment that hasn't been there in the past and a level of what these institutions mean to each other," Beebe said. "We recognize you're going to have trying times in any relationship, but when it comes together it can be renewed."
Beebe even commented about the media's reporting of the Big 12's apparent demise. "There was a lot of excitement to see where the hearses were going," he said.
Beebe obviously has been feeling that pressure that his league could implode for some time. On June 1, Beebe e-mailed the league's presidents about the Big 12's future. SI.com obtained the e-mail, which outlines why the league should remain together. (Read it by clicking here)
Beebe wrote that "a network would pay more to televise Big 12 football games." In a white paper attached to the e-mail, he also told the league's presidents: "Conversations with Fox indicate their bullishness about competing in the future for our rights, and they have already made overtures about their willingness to pay exponentially higher rights fees than those in our current agreements. A primary driver of higher rights fees are competitors for the rights and all information is that there are more serious bidders about to enter the marketplace."
Beebe also warned by moving to "super-conferences in a blatant cash-grab would have invited 'more governmental, legal and public scrutiny' and could have resulted in athletic programs losing their tax-exempt status and possibly the payment of athletes for their services."
Beebe said on Tuesday's teleconference he wasn't sure if the league would keep the Big 12 name with only 10 members. He even joked that he didn't want to indicate what he was thinking as a name in case the league members didn't like it.
If the league does decide to ditch the Big 12 name, it's obvious what the new name for the conference, relying so heavily on Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, should be: Conference Texoma A&M.
Contact FanHouse senior writer Brett McMurphy at email@example.com or on Twitter @BrettmcmurphY