Third time the charm for Big 12
Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt hopes the third time is the charm for the Big 12 Conference.
Earlier this week, the presidents of the Pac-12 universities voted to shut down expansion talks for the time being and it appears the best option for four of the conference's biggest movers and shakers is to remain in the Big 12, at least for another season.
Hocutt said he and most of the other people who have some control of the situation hopes the Big 12 survives for a lot longer.
"We've got to rebuild the trust," Hocutt said during a media availability Thursday. "We've been through a very difficult process for the past month. It's a process that I don't think is finished yet, but we're optimistic as a league we're going to survive and have a third chance to get this right.
"You don't get three chances very often and hopefully we'll have that third chance and a chance to come together and make this the league that it has the potential of being."
Hocutt said the Big 12 desires to get back to 10 teams as soon as possible should Texas A&M leave for the SEC. The immediate goal though is to do some housekeeping work and work out the issues that have bothered leaders of Big 12 schools in the past month.
According to Hocutt, there are a lot of inherent advantages the Big 12 has to make it a league that is worth staying in.
Schools in the league stand to make more money than ever before, the schools in the conference are within a relatively close proximity most of the time and the teams within the league are as competitive as ever.
The question now is how to get the Big 12 teams, excluding Texas A&M, the same page and content with the way the league operates. That question can begin to resolve itself next week when the Big 12 athletic directors meet in Dallas.
"You either look at -- do you have an assignment of rights which the Big Ten and Pac-12 have done?" Hocutt said. "Do you make a long-term commitment of your television rights to your conference? Do you increase the buyout, separation clause, of the league to a very high amount? Are there other ideas or other things our attorneys will bring forth to show a long-term commitment?
"Obviously we would be mistaken if we go forward and do not have something for long-term commitment that's different from what we've had in the past."
Another solution might be terminating Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe's services. But as of Thursday afternoon, Beebe was still at his post.
"As far as I'm aware, Dan Beebe is still our commissioner," Hocutt said. "Dan is in that position until I'm told otherwise."
It has been reporter, however, Beebe will be fired and the Big 12 job would first be offered to former Big Eight commissioner Chuck Neinas will be offered the job first. Hocutt considers Neinas one of his mentors.
"I can talk about Chuck as a personal friend and mentor to me," Hocutt said. "Chuck was my first boss and I had the opportunity to work for Chuck for about 18 months. As a close mentor, personal friend, there's no better administrator in the country than Chuck Neinas.
"He's respected throughout the country, he's a visionary. What he had established at the College Football Association was truly visionary."
One thing Hocutt said is off the table is Texas' openness to revenue sharing from the Longhorn Network because all Big 12 teams have the opportunity to exercise third-tier broadcast rights.
"When we talk about our first and second-tier rights, I hope we can have conversation about equal revenue share for those rights," Hocutt said. "But as far as the third-tier inventory that each of us control, I don't see that as being on the table at all."
Hocutt said Tech is exploring its opportunities to deliver third-tier content on television and digitally but decisions won't be made public for several months.
"(Third-tier rights are) a difficult, complicated issue," Hocutt said. "It's one that we've got to continue to work through and there some items that have been unique and surprises, one's that we don't deal with on a day-to-day basis, but we're the first ones in the country to go through this uncharted water.
"We'll do the best we can as we go along. Hopefully, we'll sit around the conference table next week and have a chance to air some of these things out."