This is BYU’s chance to make the Big 12 an offer they can’t refuse.
News broke recently that if the Big 12 were to expand, the TV networks would increase the conference’s payout commensurate with the expansion. This revelation bucked the nearly universal assumption that TV money was the only thing keeping the conference from staying true to its name.
Jason Kirk at SB Nation did a great breakdown of the costs of expansion (surprise: football revenue is only 60% of the equation) for each Big 12 school. In a nutshell, the NCAA basketball tournament and College Football Playoff payouts are divvied up amongst the schools, so expanding could cost each school somewhere between $1.3M an $1.8M per year. This could, of course, be offset by a Big 12 football championship game, more bowl tie-ins with that come from having more schools, and NCAA tournament success by the incoming schools. Kirk predicts that if the Big 12 added the right schools, it would at least break even, if not make more money.
Given this financial landscape, BYU is in good position to offer the Big 12 some flexibility in revenue-sharing in exchange for membership. My suggestion: offer to forgo its share of the NCAA tournament revenue. This would allow the conference to defray a chunk of the costs associated with adding a new member while still reaping the benefits of a 12-school league. The football TV money alone would be a huge increase for BYU, and the church-run school has never been in it for the money anyway.
The bottom line is that BYU’s financial stability is an asset that not many schools can match. Tom Holmoe and company should use that to their advantage when brokering a deal with the Big 12.