Category Archives: Big 12
The Mountain West appears to have won a large victory with the recent additions (or not losses if that’s how you choose to look at it) of Boise State and San Diego State. That may in fact be the case. However, there is also the possibility that in its quest for stabilization and increased stature, the Mountain West endangered itself by giving away crucial member equality in order to re-acquire Boise State.
Reports indicate the Mountain West has or will (among other things): 1) re-negotiate its television contract with CBS Sports Network which will allow teams on national television (i.e. Boise State) to make more money through bonuses, 2) sell Boise State’s home games in a separate package, and 3) allocate half of BCS (and future equivalent) bowl game revenue to the participating team (i.e. Boise State) before splitting it among the remaining conference members.
From the quotes of Big East commissioner Mike Aresco, it sounds as if Boise State wanted to stay in the Big East if it would match the Mountain West’s offer. Smartly, Mr. Aresco and the remaining Big East schools’ (bonus points if you can name them) presidents said thanks, but no thanks. In a time when it must feel like everything is crashing down around them, the Big East brass found a line they wouldn’t cross. Good for them. Let’s face it, Boise State to the Big East wasn’t exactly the perfect mix of chocolate and peanut butter. So for the Big East to grant unprecedented perks to a school 2,600 miles removed from the conference office didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Navy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuck even went public with his disdain for the proposed deal, saying:
“What Boise State wanted was outrageous and unprecedented. It was not palatable to any of the other Big East institutions,” Gladchuk said. “In the final analysis, Boise wasn’t worth it. There is zero television interest in Boise along the Eastern seaboard. What it tells me is the Mountain West was desperate. Clearly, the Mountain West was willing to make whatever concessions necessary to keep Boise in the fold.”
But surely it made sense for the Mountain West to do whatever was necessary to bring Boise State back under its tent, right? Maybe, maybe not. The money grab that is conference realignment also has an undercurrent of trying to create and/or maintain stability and long-term viability. As mentioned earlier, the Mountain West seems to have stabilized at 12 members. But when gross member inequality is part of a league’s structure, there can be problems.
Example: When the Big 12 was formed in the mid-90s, its structure was similar to how the Mountain West is currently proceeding. Most notably, it did not share bowl and television revenue monies equally among the members. Rather, the participating teams were first entitled to a larger share. This obviously funneled most of the revenue toward the traditionally successful programs, and smaller amounts to everyone else. (Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman wrote about this structure in 2010.) As time passed the Big 12 and its membership experienced the difficulties of operating a conference successfully when there’s a sense that a few schools are driving the bus and collecting the checks, and the rest are just passengers along for the ride. Ultimately, that and other issues led to the departure of 1/3rd of the Big 12’s schools (Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, Texas A&M), and a near collapse of the conference entirely.
Whether the Big 12 leadership decided the original structure was a mistake, or that times had changed and therefore the structure needed to change with it, the powers that be agreed to a more (though not completely) equal distribution of revenue in the summer of 2011. It also put a stake in the ground on stability by having each member grant its television rights to the conference for a long period of time (initially six years, but recently extended to 13), essentially removing the largest incentive to other conferences who may wish to come poaching in the future (the importance of this “grant of rights” was well articulated by Mat Winter in a BusinessofCollegeSports.com post last month). I have not read or heard anything along the lines of Boise State or the other Mountain West schools making similar commitments.
So while the Big 12 (barely) escaped the inequality trap and the Big East has avoided it for now, the Mountain West may have fallen right in it. Sure, Utah State and San Jose State are excited to be new members in a league which just got considerably stronger. And the other Mountain West schools no doubt see the tremendous value Boise State brings to all of them. But give those non-Boise State presidents and athletic directors a few years of conference meetings looking over financials, and watching the revenue flow into the conference and out to Boise State. Give them a few years of conference meetings observing how decisions are made.
The camaraderie that exists today may not continue very long. And without a grant-of-rights or similar level of commitment, Boise State is for all intents and purposes a perpetual free agent, available to accept the next best conference offer that comes along. The Mountain West’s current and future members no doubt wanted to make decisions which ensured stability over the long-term. And while the league certainly got immediately stronger with the addition of Boise State, it may be that the deal they made guarantees the long-term will be anything but stable.
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A number of Division I conferences have recently increased the fees a member school must pay when it withdraws from the conference. These fees are commonly referred to as exit fees. The ACC is one of the conferences that recently increased its exit fees. And its exit fee provision has been receiving a lot of attention lately because of Maryland’s departure to the Big Ten.
The ACC actually increased its exit fees twice in the span of a year. The ACC first upped the fees from around $12-14 million to $20 million in September 2011 when it announced it would add Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The fees were then upped again this September after the conference added Notre Dame (in all sports except football and hockeyl).
The ACC’s current exit fee calls for a withdrawing member to pay an amount equal to three times the conference’s total operating budget at the time of withdrawal. Based on the ACC’s 2012-13 operating budget, this equates to an exit fee of more than $52 million. It is this amount that the ACC is seeking in its lawsuit against Maryland for the school’s move to the Big Ten.
When the ACC and other conferences increase their exit fees, the general thinking is that it further discourages members from leaving the conference. But, because of how courts analyze the legality of these exit fee provisions, increasing the amount of the fee can actually increase the chances of the exit fee provision being deemed unenforceable. So, instead of discouraging schools from leaving, it can actually embolden them to do so.
In legal terms, conference exit fees are known as liquidated damages. Liquidated damages provisions are commonly added to contracts. They set the amount a party to the contract must pay in the event it breaches the contract. Liquidated damages provisions are useful because they theoretically save the parties the time and expense of litigating the amount of damages caused by the breach.
But, the amount of liquidated damages specified in a contract cannot be randomly selected. Courts will generally only enforce liquidated damages provisions if (1) the anticipated damages in the event of a breach are difficult to ascertain at the time of contracting, and (2) the amount of liquidated damages is a reasonable estimate of the actual damages that would likely be caused by a breach. If a liquidated damages provision does not meet this test it is deemed a penalty and is unenforceable.
Assuming that the ACC’s liquidated damages provision fulfills the first element of the test, it is questionable whether it would meet the second element. The requirement to pay three times the conference’s operating budget does not appear to be related in any way to the actual amount of damages the ACC would suffer if a member withdraws. It just seems like an easy way to ensure that the exit fee continues to grow without having to continually vote on it. This makes it look like a penalty.
And the actual number that results from this provision, $52 million, is not a reasonable estimate of the ACC’s actual damages. For example, Maryland’s departure will not result in the ACC’s tv deal being reduced by $52 million. A good argument can be made that the ACC actually suffered no damage when Maryland left. Maryland’s departure allowed the conference to add Louisville. And the general consensus is that the ACC is now stronger athletically as a result (at least in the two sports that matter for tv revenue purposes, football and men’s basketball).
This is consistent with recent realignment history. Over the past two years the Big 12 lost Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M, and Missouri. Yet, after adding TCU and West Virginina, the Big 12 signed the most lucrative tv deal in the conference’s history this year. (The one exception to the no damage upon withdrawal argument would be the Big East. The defections in that conference have definitely hurt the value of its tv rights).
When a liquidated damages provision is determined to be invalid, the party attempting to enforce the provision is allowed to instead seek its actual damages from the breaching party. But, as discussed above, conferences often suffer minimal damage when a member withdraws, either because the member added little value to the conference or because the conference quickly replaces it with a new member of equal value (at least in tv executives’ eyes).
As a result, exit fees often leave conferences in a tough position. They have to be high enough to discourage a member from leaving the conference. But, if they are too high they could be declared an invalid penalty. And, if the exit fees are invalid, the conference would then have to prove its actual damages, which are usually much less than the amount of the exit fee. As a result, exit fee disputes have always settled without a court deciding the validity of the liquidated damages provision. Recent examples include the Big 12 settling with Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M, and Missouri for less than the mandated amount of exit fees.
So, what is the solution to the problems with exit fees? Grants of television broadcast rights. In these agreements, all of the conference members grant their television broadcast rights to their athletic contests to the conference for a certain period of time. If a member leaves the conference during that time, the conference retains the member’s television rights. Because the value of a school to a conference is the television revenue it can help generate, a grant of rights agreement makes the members essentially worthless to another conference that is looking for new members.
While grant of rights agreements do have potential issues (sovereign immunity issues being the biggest), they are not subject to a subjective test like liquidated damages provisions. Thus, they are much more likely to hold up in court as valid contracts.
Currently, only the members of the Big Ten, the Pac-12, and the Big 12 have executed grant of rights agreements. Other conferences that want to ensure stable membership would be wise to insist on their members signing similar agreements. (Yes, even the mighty SEC should have its members sign grants of rights). If the ACC had one in place, Maryland likely would not be joining the Big Ten.
Guest author: Tyler Jamieson (BusinessofCollegeSports.com Intern)
When it comes to cash the SEC is king…
…but just barely. NCAA disclosures (and EADA reports for private schools) from the 2010-2011 school year (the most recent available) reveal that the SEC is top dog when it comes to revenue. In 2011, schools from the SEC and Big Ten conferences both posted revenues of over $1 billion. The SEC earned top billing with earnings of $1,080,219,133, with the Big Ten right behind at $1,078,727,312.
The SEC also led the nation with a staggering 5 schools posting revenues of over $100 million. Leading the way was Alabama ($124,498,616), followed by Florida ($123,514,257), LSU ($107,259,352), Tennessee ($104,368,992), and Auburn ($103,982,441). The Big Ten was second with 3 schools over $100 million: Ohio State ($131,815,821), Michigan ($122,739,052), and Penn State ($116,118,025). The Big 12 had two schools over $100 million: Texas, with the highest overall net revenue in the country ($150,295,926), and Oklahoma ($104,338,844).
What’s even more impressive about the SEC’s revenue numbers is how far they have climbed since 2004-2005. Since 2004-2005 the conference as a whole has almost doubled their revenue, skyrocketing from approximately $600 million to over $1 billion. Over that time the average SEC school’s revenue has jumped from approximately $55 million to a little over $91 million, which is a robust 71% increase.
Once again amongst the notables is Alabama who doubled their revenue from $62 million to $124 million, no doubt due to recent success on the football field with the hiring of Nick Saban and 2 National Championships in the past 3 years. Also among the big movers was Mississippi State who back in 2004-2005 had a very paltry (by SEC standards) revenue of $26 million. In 2010-2011 the Bulldogs took the SEC crown for highest percentage climb in revenue since 2004-2005 with a 131% increase up to $59 million, but that still leaves them at less than half of Alabama and Florida are earning.
With a $3 billion television deal set to kick off in 2012, the PAC-12 is in position for some serious growth. In 2010-2011, the conference had the 2 lowest net revenue earners for all automatic-qualifier conferences. Utah, still transitioning from its move from the Mountain West Conference, had a revenue of $38 million, and Washington State came in at just under $40 million. Those numbers will no doubt see hugely significant increases in the coming years with each school in the conference estimated to receive over $20 million a year from the new TV deal.
Today, the Big 12 and SEC announced that they have entered into a five-year contract which will allow champion of each conference to play each other in a New Year’s Day bowl game beginning in 2014. The contract is tailored to fit in with the new four-team playoff model, in that if the respective Big 12 and SEC champions are set to play in that game, different schools from each conference will play in the Big 12 and SEC match-up.
In making this announcement, the Big 12 and SEC have kept themselves ahead of the game when it comes to the reorganization of the college football playoff structure resulting from the expiration of the BCS’ current deal. This should come as no surprise to college football fans, as SEC commissioner Mike Slive has been at the forefront of proposing captivating alternatives to the current BCS system. It was Slive who first suggested the four-team playoff system, which will likely be adopted as the new BCS alternative. Today, Slive has once again protected the football notoriety of his conference, and the Big 12 has done the same, by ensuring that one team from each conference is present in a major, New Year’s Day bowl game.
The possibilities for this match-up are nearly endless, and quite fascinating. When considering the conference realignment landscape that took Big 12 programs Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, this proposal raises the possibility that those two teams could someday face off against former rivals on national television on New Year’s Day. For fans mourning the end of the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry, this agreement presents the opportunity for the rivalry to flourish on a large-scale stage. Understandably, that would require both teams to become the champion of their football-competitive conference–but, at least it’s a possibility.
Questions remain about how the bowl will be orchestrated. For instance, it is unknown whether it will be held in a set location annually, like the Pac-12 and Big Ten’s Rose Bowl, or if it will travel to a new location each year. Given that SEC and Big 12 fans travel more than fans from other conferences, it may be worth each conference’s time to investigate the possibility of rotating the bowl game throughout various sites. This would open up the possibility of attending the game to more of the fans who are diehard supporters of SEC and Big 12 football. Additionally, it would raise the possibility of introducing each conference’s respective teams to new markets.
In the future, issues that will need to be addressed as a result of this bowl marriage relate to the bowls that each conference is currently aligned with. For instance, the Big 12 champion plays in the Fiesta Bowl each year. Will that continue? Is it possible that the agreement will result in the Fiesta Bowl being one of the sites that the bowl rotates through? Furthermore, what will happen to the current Big 12 No. 2-SEC No. 4 or 5 matchup, better known as the Cotton Bowl? Like the possibility just noted about the Fiesta Bowl, could this new bowl also rotate through the Cotton Bowl location? What will become of the SEC champion hosting Sugar Bowl?
My hunch is that the bowls will not agree to a game which rotates amongst them. Such would not be lucrative to the bowls. Thus, what the Big 12 and SEC have done with this move, is to strip the respective bowls of their power and transfer it to themselves. In doing so, they’ve opened up a bidding war of sorts, where the bowls will be expected to woo them with options. If none is suitable to the conferences, my guess is that they will launch a new bowl which will rotate throughout Big 12 and SEC locations.
Overall, this is a great move by the Big 12 and SEC. It is so, because it is a move that keeps them on top of the bowl shuffling/college football playoff landscape.
Last week, the ACC and ESPN reached an agreement which extended the network’s television contract with the conference for 15 years. News of the agreement caused many to speculate that FSU would leave the ACC for the Big 12, under the assumption that the amount of money the school would earn under the ACC’s extended media contract was not sufficient and that FSU would be able to earn more under the Big 12′s yet-to-be-negotiated media contract.
However, in a memorandum released today, FSU president Eric Barron all but squashed any rumors of FSU leaving the ACC for the Big 12.
In the memorandum, Barron provided four reasons why alumni believe FSU should consider joining the Big 12: the Big 12 is more football-oriented than the ACC, the Big 12 would give FSU greater football competition, the ACC provides advantages to North Carolina schools, and FSU would earn more media revenue under the Big 12′s media contract.
In response, Barron nearly doubled the reasons why FSU should not join the Big 12, providing seven explanations. These explanations included his notations that the ACC is an equal share media revenue conference while the Big 12 is not, any additional money FSU would receive under a more lucrative Big 12 media rights deal would in turn be spent by FSU on further travel to play Big 12 schools, ticket revenue would decline as Big 12 fans would be less inclined to travel to FSU games, the sellout FSU-Miami rivalry would be lost, FSU would have to pay $20-$25 million to leave the ACC and the Big 12 is an “academically weaker” conference.
While many FSU fans may be disappointed in Barron’s response, his reaction is perhaps the most level-headed of any made during the past 18 months in which conference realignment has changed the collegiate athletics landscape. Barron’s response provided analysis of three of the key factors driving conference realignment: media contract revenues, travel and academics. However, it appears that for once, the lure of media contract revenues did not outweigh the costs posed by travel and academics resulting from conference realignment.
Over the past 18 months, fans of college athletics have watched as teams have realigned themselves with conferences in far away lands, under the auspices of joining the ranks of more prestigious academic institutions, better competition, and ultimately, earning higher revenues. However, in his memorandum, Barron indirectly called out many of these institutions on their bluff: How can you promote academics and earn more revenue, when you are requiring your student-athletes to travel further distances and expending more money to meet a growing travel budget?
In recent months, I have been given great access into top Division-I athletic department’s budgets. Across the board, the highest expense any athletic department incurs is for travel. Athletic departments that compete in localized geographic areas already shell out millions of dollars per year to pay for travel. Imagine how much the amount spent on travel will increase when schools join conferences with geographic reaches across the nation? Will it double? Triple? Will the possibility of earning $2 million more per year under a media rights agreement balance the additional travel costs incurred by the athletic department, while also negating the time lost to study by student-athletes required to travel further distances for competition? Only time will tell.
Today, many may be chastising Barron for his memorandum and apparent disinterest in moving FSU to the Big 12. However, ten years from now, it will be interesting to see what FSU has gained (and likewise, what it may have lost) by remaining in the ACC.
To conclude this week’s series, BusinessofCollegeSports.com will list in order the athletics departments earning the highest net income in 2010-11.
Issue has been raised by some over the classification of revenue minus expenses in this series as “profit,” since athletics departments are nonprofit organizations. It should be noted, that in the disclosures to the Department of Education, the athletics departments do not report either profit or net income. Rather, they report their revenues and expenses. For this series, profit/net income was calculated by subtracting the total expenses reported from the total revenues reported.
As noted above, the data was obtained from the Department of Education and is for 2010-11. The data from the Department of Education is by no means perfect. Throughout this series, net income was calculated by subtracting the “grand total expenses” from the “grand total revenues” that the athletic department reported to the Department of Education. Expenses in this instance included: head and assistant coach salaries, athletically related student aid, recruiting expenses, operating (game-day expenses) and “not allocated” expenses. The expenses faced by athletic departments, however, may be greater than those reported in this snapshot provided by the Department of Education. For example, an athletic department may have capital expenses outside of those expenses included in the report. This all being said, this data is the only data publicly available for both public and private institutions. Thus, it at least provides some insight into athletic department revenues, expenses, and net income before taking into consideration additional expenses, like capital projects.
In 2010-11, 48 athletics departments in BCS AQ conferences generated a positive net income.
|School||Athletic Department Net Income
|Penn State||$31,619,687.00||Big Ten|
|Kansas State||$23,395,408.00||Big 12|
|Notre Dame||$19,147,710.00||Big East|
|Ohio State||$18,630,964.00||Big Ten|
|Oklahoma State||$14,365,376.00||Big 12|
|Michigan State||$13,512,269.00||Big Ten|
|Texas A&M||$3,224,429.00||Big 12|
|Texas Tech||$3,124,246.00||Big 12|
|North Carolina State||$192,151.00||ACC|
|Iowa State||$121,686.00||Big 12|
In previous posts from this series, you’ll remember that every Big Ten athletics department ranked in the top-50 for revenues and expenses. However, neither Minnesota nor Northwestern achieved a net income above zero.
The conference with the highest percentage of members having a positive net income was the SEC. All but one SEC member (Ole Miss) generated a positive net income in 2010-11. The SEC was also home to the athletics department with the highest net income of any BCS AQ school, Alabama. However, the ten schools generating the greatest net income in 2010-11 are from a mix of conferences. The only conference not represented in the top-10 is the ACC.
|Conference||# of Athletics Departments||% of Conference|
This week, BusinessofCollegeSports.com showed you the revenues, expenses and net income of athletics departments in the BCS AQ conferences. To conclude this series, BusinessofCollegeSports.com is ranking the top-50 athletics departments with the highest revenues, expenses and net income. In this installment, we will show you which athletics departments spend the most.
The data was obtained from the Department of Education and is from 2010-11. While this data is not perfect, it is the only data publicly available for both public and private institutions.
|School||Athletic Department Expenses||Conference|
|Ohio State||$113,184,855.00||Big Ten|
|Penn State||$84,498,339.00||Big Ten|
|Notre Dame||$75,360,209.00||Big East|
|Texas A&M||$71,719,872.00||Big 12|
|Michigan State||$67,450,913.00||Big Ten|
|Oklahoma State||$55,757,830.00||Big 12|
While 80 percent of the Big 12′s members ranked in the top-50 in terms of revenue generated, only 70 percent ranked in the top-50 for expenditures. Thus, it is expected that at least several Big 12 members should generate a net income in the black. Only four Big East members ranked in the top-50 for revenue generated. However, five Big East members ranked in the top-5o for expenditures (Pittsburgh did not generate enough revenue to make the top-50 list, but is on the top-50 list for expenditures). Again, every Big Ten athletics department made the top-50 list for expenditures.
The chart below depicts how many places each conference held in the list and the percentage of the conference which made the list.
|Conference||# of Athletics Departments||% of Conference|
This week, BusinessofCollegeSports.com has shown you the revenues, expenses and net income (profit) of athletics departments in the BCS AQ conferences. To conclude this series, BusinessofCollegeSports.com will rank the top-5o athletics departments with the highest revenues, expenses and net income. First up is athletics department revenues.
The data was obtained from the Department of Education and is from 2010-11. While this data is not perfect, it is the only data publicly available for both public and private institutions.
|School||Athletic Department Revenue||Conference|
|Ohio State||$131,815,819.00||Big Ten|
|Penn State||$116,118,026.00||Big Ten|
|Notre Dame||$94,507,919.00||Big East|
|Michigan State||$80,963,182.00||Big Ten|
|Texas A&M||$74,944,301.00||Big 12|
|Oklahoma State||$70,123,206.00||Big 12|
|Kansas State||$68,875,266.00||Big 12|
Several things stand out in this list. First, every Big Ten team made the list. This is notable, as the SEC is typically viewed as the “power conference” when it comes to all things finance. The SEC had a great showing in the top-50, but only nine of its twelve athletics departments made the list. The conference with the least athletics departments on the list was the Big East, which only placed four of its members on the list.
The chart below depicts how many places each conference held in the list.
|Conference||# of Athletics Departments on List||% of Conference|
This week, BusinessofCollegeSports.com is ranking the athletic departments with the highest net income. First up was the ACC. Next up is the Big 12. Over the course of today and tomorrow, we’ll also look at the Big Ten, Big East, Pac-12 and SEC. On Wednesday, the top-50 most athletic departments will be ranked.
The data was obtained from the Department of Education and is for 2010-11. The data from the Department of Education is by no means perfect. Throughout this series, net income was calculated by subtracting the “grand total expenses” from the “grand total revenues” that the athletic department reported to the Department of Education. Expenses in this instance included: head and assistant coach salaries, athletically related student aid, recruiting expenses, operating (game-day expenses) and “not allocated” expenses. The expenses faced by athletic departments, however, may be greater than those reported in this snapshot provided by the Department of Education. For example, an athletic department may have capital expenses outside of those expenses included in the report. This all being said, this data is the only data publicly available for both public and private institutions. Thus, it at least provides some insight into athletic department revenues, expenses, and net income before taking into consideration additional expenses, like capital projects.
|School||Total Athletic Department Revenue||Total Athletic Department Expenses||Net Income|
In 2010-11, only two Big 12 athletic departments did not turn a positive net income: Baylor and Kansas. Yet, neither Baylor nor Kansas churned the lowest amount of revenue in the Big 12 in 2010-11. Rather, Iowa State was the athletic department which produced the lowest amount of revenue in 2010-11, at $48,574,989.00.
While six Big 12 athletic departments saw net income in excess of one million dollars (Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech), two departments’ net income stand out. In particular, both Kansas State and Texas earned over twenty million dollars in net income in 2010-11. Kansas State achieved net income of $23,395,408.00, while Texas had net income of $24,317,815.00. Interestingly, though, is the fact that Kansas State’s revenues in that same year were $68,875,266.00, while Texas’ were $150,295,932.00. Texas’ expenditures, on the other hand, were nearly three-times that of Kansas State’s.
Recently, NCAA Division I institutions and their conferences voted on whether to overturn a measure enacted by the NCAA Board of Directors in October 2011 which allowed Division I institutions to offer student-athletes multi-year scholarships. The effort to overturn the measure was narrowly defeated. Of those eligible to vote, 125 voted to uphold the measure, 205 voted to overturn it, 2 abstained and 35 did not cast votes. To overturn the measure, 5/8 of those voting (or, 62.5 percent) were required to vote in favor of overturning the measure. Thus, the vote to overturn the measure was short by 0.38 percent of votes.
Given how close Division I institutions came to overturning the right to offer multi-year scholarships, one may wonder how votes were split on the issue. First, consider those BCS automatic qualifying conferences and schools which voted to continue to allow Division I institutions to offer multi-year scholarships:
|BCS AQ Conferences & Schools Voting to Allow Multi-Year Scholarships|
|Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Big East Conference|
|Big Ten Conference|
|North Carolina State|
Most notably, the only BCS AQ Conference which voted to overturn the multi-year scholarship measure was the Big 12. The ACC, Big Ten, Big East, Pac-12 and SEC conferences, on the other hand, all voted in favor to continue allowing schools to offer multi-year scholarships. The only Big 12 member to vote to uphold the multi-year scholarship measure was Missouri. However, it should be noted that Missouri will join the SEC later this year. Many of the SEC’s member institutions voted similarly to continue to allow multi-year scholarships.
Of those 125 conferences and schools voting to allow schools to offer multi-year scholarships, 36.8 percent were BCS automatic qualifying conferences or schools. This is a significant number, especially when considering that the majority of schools casting a vote on the issue were non-BCS AQ schools. It further demonstrates that a majority of BCS AQ institutions are in favor of granting multi-year scholarships. This is important, as whether a school offers multi-year scholarships may greatly affect recruiting and athletic department budgets going forward.
Next, consider which BCS AQ conferences and schools voted to overturn the NCAA’s measure allowing multi-year scholarships:
|BCS Conferences and Schools Voting to Disallow Multi-Year Scholarships|
Of the 205 conferences and schools which voted to override the NCAA’s measure allowing schools to offer multi-year scholarships, only 25 were BCS AQ conferences and schools. Thus, BCS AQ conferences and schools only accounted for 15.6 percent of those wishing to disallow multi-year scholarships. Most interesting, however, is that the Big 12 and its member institutions accounted for 31.25 percent of the BCS AQ schools and conferences voting to disallow multi-year scholarships.
The question to be raised given these numbers is, what competitive disadvantage does the Big 12 believe it faces if multi-year scholarships are allowed to be granted? Opponents of the multi-year scholarship measure have made the reasons as to why they do not support the measure clear. First, granting multi-year scholarships binds schools and athletic departments to student-athletes who may not be able to perform up to required standards either on the field or in the classroom. Additionally, granting multi-year scholarships may impose a greater financial burden on athletic department budgets and may provide those schools offering multi-year scholarships with a recruiting advantage over those which do not offer multi-year scholarships.
These factors may have been relevant in the Big 12 voting in large measure to not support multi-year scholarships. In 2010-11, the Big 12 only had one school (Texas) which broke into the top-10 in terms of its recruitment expenses. Likewise, in terms of the top-50 most profitable NCAA programs, the Big 12 once again only placed one of its teams (Texas football) into the top-10. Given these factors, it is likely that the Big 12′s largest concern with offering multi-year scholarships rested upon a cost-benefit analysis of the measure, and what its teams would be able to offer budgetary-wise in terms of multi-year scholarships.
One thing is certain: because NCAA Division I institutions and conferences voted to uphold allowing multi-year scholarships, it will be interesting to see the recruiting advantages those schools offering them receive going forward.