By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Big 12 Conference concluded its spring business meetings Friday in Las Colinas, Texas. The Conference announced its total revenue for the 2013-14 season as a record $221 million, which is an increase from last year’s distribution of $198 million and $8.1 million more than projected.
The conference will distribute approximately $212 million to its member schools. Eight of the Big 12 schools each will receive approximately $23 million. The revenue distribution that each school receives doesn't include the money each institution gains from third-tier media rights. That revenue varies from $3 million to $15 million.
TCU and West Virginia, which are about to start their third season as Big 12 members, received a 67 percent share in revenue distribution for the 2013-14. Those schools will receive nearly $14 million each in revenue distribution. A year ago, those two received $11 million. Both schools agreed to the lesser distribution as part of a four-year phase-in agreement put in place when those schools joined the Big 12.
Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis, who is chair of the Big 12 board of directors, noted that the revenue increase is one of just several positives for the Big 12.
"The Conference has never been stronger," he said. "It's all about the future and making it better. Adversity builds strength. Everything is a positive focus. It's about making a better future for student-athletes. We had a successful two days of meetings on a variety of topics and pressing issues."
The board of directors met for less than two hours Friday; about half the time that was on the agenda schedule.
"From my perspective, the fact that we're done a couple of hours early is indicative that we're comfortable about what's going on in our conference," Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.
Bowlsby said the total revenue being higher than expected could be attributed to placing a second team in the Bowl Championship Series along with receiving units from the NCAA Tournament, which are distributed on a six-year rolling basis.
"The revenue we have in place will put a lot of vitality in place on our campus," Bowlsby said.
Bowlsby also said that $7.8 million of the revenue – a figure based on the revenue that was higher than expected minus $300,000 in operating expenses - would be added to the Big 12 reserve fund that will be on hand for the uncertainties currently being faced due to ongoing litigation. Bowlsby said the $7.8 million could be distributed to the schools at a later date.
The commissioner expects that the per-school revenue distribution will increase by about $3 million thanks to increases in the Big 12 television contracts plus income from the new college football playoff. He also said that after budgeting $400,000 for legal fees last year, the Conference has increased that line item in the budget to $1.5 million.
Bowlsby said earlier in the week that the Big 12 will continue to use an eighth official for its Conference football games. The Big 12 received permission to experiment with the extra official to help with the pace of play. The Conference coaches deemed it a success.
Other conferences are following the Big 12's lead. The American Athletic Conference announced Friday it would use an eighth official for its league games in 2014. The Southeastern Conference will experiment with one eight-person officiating crew while the Big Ten and the Atlantic Coast conferences have said they also might use an eighth official.