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Big 12’s Power Five Status ‘Will Be Fully Assured,’ According To Study

Oct 5, 2021, 11:25 AM | Updated: 11:25 am
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AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 09: A Big XII logo is seen on a first down marker prior to the game between the San Jose State Spartans and the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – According to a study, any questions about the Big 12 Conference and its place in the Power Conference structure of the NCAA shouldn’t be a worry.

Altimore Collins & Company, a strategy consulting service, recently put together a “data-driven expansion target analysis” centered around the Big 12 Conference. One of their findings is that the Big 12’s Power Five status isn’t going anywhere after Texas and Oklahoma leave the league.

That’s music to the ears of BYU, which will join the Big 12 Conference in the 2023-24 academic year. Along with BYU, the Big 12 invited American Athletic Conference members Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF. Those three universities will join no later than 2024-25.

The Big 12’s future

On page six of the 233-page analysis, the study states, “The B12 A-5 status will be fully assured through at least any big reorganization of NCAA models.” Then goes on to state, “fans can stop worrying if the new-look Big 12 will remain a ‘Power Five’ conference. The ‘Power 5’ debate is a media-driven, confused, made-up issue and term, driven by uniformed rival fans and pushed by click-hungry writers.”

Back in 2014, the NCAA Board of Directors granted autonomy to five conferences. Thus, giving those leagues the chance to write many of their own rules.

“NCAA has legislatively empowered the Big 12 with A-5 conference authority powers going forward. …Among life’s many worries, this should not be one. The autonomous powers will not be soon curtailed,” stated the Altimore Collins & Company study.

Nothing is guaranteed in this era of college athletics. These are historic times. But as long as the NCAA is involved with college sports, the Big 12 will have its autonomous status.

Now the challenge for the new Big 12 will be to put out a product that shows it’s as good or better than conferences in the Alliance. Two of the latest additions in Cincinnati and BYU are currently in the Top 10 of the rankings. The Pac-12 and ACC have zero teams among the top 10.

Power Five status shouldn’t be the concern for the Big 12 Conference

The better question for the Big 12 in the future is what will happen with the next TV deal? Texas and Oklahoma are massive TV draws. So everyone expects the per team payouts to dip from the $37-$39 million the league is making now with the Longhorns and Sooners as members. But how much does it change?

For BYU, it will be a windfall of money they’ve never experienced before. With Independence, BYU is hovering around anywhere from $6-$10 million in TV revenue, reportedly with ESPN.

“There’ll be plenty of money in this conference, and we didn’t have the money that a lot of the conferences had coming up to this point, and we realized that as a coaching staff and as players, we do our best and focus our attention on the things that matter most,” said BYU AD Tom Holmoe last month. “And then somehow you just are able to make money. Those things happen. So that’s where all the people focus.”

Regardless of the money payouts, the Big 12 looks to be in the power structure of college athletics moving forward into the future.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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