Big 12 Disputes Report That Conference Has Extended, Signed Media Rights Deal
The Big 12 conference "disputed a report Sunday that conference schools had formally agreed to a 13-year grant of media rights," according to Dennis Dodd of CBSSPORTS.com. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby was quoted by the Charleston Gazette-Mail as saying that the anticipated deal "has been extended to 13 years and it has been signed.” But a Big 12 spokesperson said, “The grant of rights has not been executed. What (Bowlsby) told the reporter is, it will be executed upon completion of current television negotiations.” Dodd noted the current grant of rights agreement is for six years and the prospect of an extension "is thought to have been key to luring Bowlsby to the league from Stanford." While such news "has been expected for months, the finalization of the deal would be nonetheless monumental." The deal would "virtually guarantee the once-fractious league solidarity over the term of the agreement." Big 12 consultant and former interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas said, "So that we're clear, I think they drafted a new 13-year grant but it's not necessary to sign it until the TV contract is done. The TV deal is still a work in progress." The three parties "continue to haggle over what are termed minor issues in the TV deal not related to legal or monetary points." Multiple sources said that the major hang-ups "continue to be the split of games between Fox and ESPN" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/1).