UT Turns Down Pac-10 Invite; Fox Saved Big 12?

Chuck Carlton of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS reports Monday that Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott has confirmed that Texas has turned down an invitation from the conference. Texas has also confirmed the news on its official sports website.

Texas official website

That signals that the Big 12 Conference will - for now - remain intact with 10 teams.

Carlton reports factors that apparently contributed to the Big 12 staying together:

Under Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe’s plan, Texas would see a sharp increase in revenue under a new cable TV right deal with Fox Sports.

Because of the Big 12’s revenue sharing formula, Texas would probably make more than the $17 million average, perhaps close to $20 million. The Longhorns would also be allowed to form their own network, something that would not be allowed in the Pac-10.

A source said the network could eventually produce up to $5 million in revenue based on projections, which would likely bring Texas more money than a move to the Pac-10.

Another reason the conference remained intact was team travel, especially without the possibility of Texas A&M, despite the Pac-10’s hope to focus on divisional travel and avoid numerous distant road trips to the Northwest.

What’s interesting about the supposed new Fox Sports cable deal with the Big 12 is that Fox was also reportedly heavily involved in the Pac-10’s bid to get the Texas and Oklahoma schools from the Big 12.

The revenue jump offered by a Fox Sports TV package reportedly was the biggest reason why Texas was entertaining going to the Pac-10. So with that in mind, why would Fox pony up the cash to the Big 12 in a deal that would seal the demise of the same Pac-16 deal it reportedly proposed?

John Henderson of the DENVER POST reports that at the “11th hour” Texas pulled a fast one on the Pac-10:

“In the 11th hour, after months of telling us they understand the TV rights, they’re trying to pull a fast one on the verge of sealing the deal in the regents meeting. They want a better revenue sharing deal and their own network. Those were points of principle. (The Pac-10) wants to treat everyone fairly. It’s been that way for months of discussions.”

Perhaps Texas pulled that fast one because it never thought it’d have the leverage with its Big 12 partners that it ended up with.

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