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Question of the day: Will the University of Texas TV deal eventually hurt the Big 12?

January 25, 2011 |  9:20 am


Writers from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

The once-powerful football conference is beginning to show the wear and tear of the changing face of college football.

Conference expansion has taken its toll on the league, taking Colorado and Nebraska along with the Big 12 Championship game and millions of dollars. Only Texas’ choice to stay in the Big 12 saved it from extinction. But the school’s new 20-year, $300-million deal with ESPN to create its own 24-hour cable network could destroy it. 

With expanded control over their marketing rights and their own television deal, Texas is set to make over $30 million a year. The deal hasn’t set well with some in the league and has started speculation that the Longhorns could strike out on their own -- a move that would leave the league’s other schools in limbo and the Big 12 on its last legs.

[Updated at 10:16 a.m.

David Teel, Newport News (Va.) Daily Press

Your richer, older, more accomplished sibling just inherited the family fortune, more than a quarter-billion worth. You got squat, not even Dad’s baseball-card collection. Moreover, said sibling dusts you on the golf course each week. Are you bitter? Jealous? Blocking him on Facebook? You bet your backside you are! So it goes with Texas and its Big 12 mates. Already the conference’s power broker, the Longhorns have teamed with ESPN to form their own television network, worth a reported $300 million over 20 years. Think that’s a competitive and recruiting advantage? Think Texas will share the windfall with Texas A&M and Oklahoma? Yes and not in this lifetime. Bet the next Big 12 family reunion is mighty tense.]

Photo: The Texas Longhorns take the field on Oct. 30. Credit: Brendan Maloney / U.S. Presswire.