Missouri or no Missouri, the Big 12 isn't going anywhere.
That's the message sent by the league's Thursday afternoon announcement that its members have agreed to a equal-revenue sharing plan and a six-year "formal grant of television rights." The revenue distribution plan "becomes effective upon the formal assignment of rights by all institutions."
That assignment of rights isn't legally binding just yet--interim commissioner Chuck Neinas has been "authorized by the Board to immediately distribute legal documents for institutional execution." But with the grant of rights part of a "joint resolution" on the part of Texas and Oklahoma (who have each already publicly endorsed the conference's invitation to TCU), it seems unthinkable that either would back out of the arrangement now, or that any of the six other non-Missouri Big 12 schools wouldn't follow their lead.
To drive that point home, the adoption of the grant of rights and revenue plan was passed with an 8-0 unanimous vote by the Big 12 Board of Directors. As with the vote to issue TCU's invitation, however, Missouri abstained--another sign of the current rift between the conference and the Tigers.
The grant of rights is understood to gives the Big 12 control over any and all Tier 1 and Tier 2 television revenues generated by the schools which sign the agreement, in effect making them worthless from a TV perspective to any other conference that might wish to add them.
However, the proposal also addresses issues with the league's "third-tier" rights, which concern the much-discussed Longhorn Network and appears to include several concessions on Texas's part. According to the league's statement:
Conference bylaws will reflect that no member institution branded outlet will show high school games or highlights, noting that it is permissible pursuant to NCAA interpretation to use scores, standings and statistics of high school games; and, that additional games beyond the one member institution retained football game for telecast purposes must be approved by both institutions and both Conference telecast partners.In other words, no filmed high school content, and any Big 12 games that appear on the LHN must have the approval of all parties involved.
“Today’s Big 12 meeting was the most positive conference meeting that we have had over the last two to three years," said Oklahoma president David Boren in a statement. "The reforms made and actions taken are a win for the entire conference. The actions taken at the meeting will help to strengthen the conference and increase its stability. Commissioner Chuck Neinas deserves great credit for his leadership in bringing this agreement together. I also appreciate the close partnership between OU and OSU in working for meaningful reforms. All of the actions taken are important and I was especially pleased that the conference will have its own bylaws to make sure that institutional branded networks will be prohibited from showing high school athletes in game or in highlight format in a way that could give any conference member a recruiting advantage.”
It might not be exactly what Texas wanted with the LHN, and the Big 12, period, may not be what the Sooners had in mind during their flirtation with the Pac-12. But with both schools now all-but locked in legal matrimony for the next six years and TCU set to officially come aboard any day now, they do have something both sides have been craving all along: conference stability.