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Big 12 schools “have taken a major step toward staying together by agreeing to equally distribute Tier I and II television revenues, a deal that will be complete with all nine institutions' individual OKs,” according to Andy Katz of ESPN.com. The conference announced that its BOD “had adopted the plan” yesterday after discussing it last weekend. The football and men's basketball revenue from Tier I and Tier II contracts “will take effect once each of the nine schools commit to a grant of rights for at least six years.” Tier I includes “nationally televised games on a broadcast network such as ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox.” All cable football, ESPN basketball and Big 12 network games produced by ESPN Regional “fall under Tier II.” The previous distribution “was based on television appearances, and thus a larger percentage for the teams being televised.” If all nine schools sign off on the agreement, “it would end speculation that Missouri would bolt to the SEC.” Univ. of Missouri Board of Curators is expected to meet today “to discuss this as well as any other matters related to conference affiliation.” The deal “doesn’t forbid schools from keeping their own network rights (Tier III), which would mean Texas can keep any revenue earned from the Longhorn Network.” All of the remaining schools “have some sort of local deal, whether it's a network or a web outlet or a locally syndicated package.” Once the remaining schools “sign off on the grant in rights then the league will begin pursuing expansion” (ESPN.com, 10/3). Big 12 Interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas yesterday said that “the agreement would last for at least six years.” In San Antonio, Tim Griffin writes it would be a “symbolic indication that the embattled conference will persevere despite losing three members in the past 15 months,” but it is “not considered a done deal” (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 10/4).
THE REAL BIG EAST: Army, Navy and Air Force are being mentioned as potential candidates to join the Big East as football-only members, and ESPN’s Robert Smith said Air Force joining the conference “doesn’t make as much sense geographically." Smith: "And it’s not like you’re going to capture a huge TV market there.” It is going to be "interesting, though, when you start talking about BCS bowl implications, and the Big 12 future stability is huge to that issue. If Missouri doesn’t leave to the SEC, then you don’t really get that discussion about whether or not they change to a format where you have more than two automatic qualifiers allowed from each conference. If that’s the case, then the Big East may be secure.” Smith: “For the Big East, it’s huge that the Big 12 stays together” (“College Football Live,” ESPN2, 10/3).