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Conference Expansion: Big-12 Knows It's Always About The Money

The most common question regarding conference expansion is a simple one: Why?

Well, it's simple really.


Big-12 teams last year, including Missouri, made between $7-10 million last year under their current television deal. That number is drastically lower than some of their BCS conference counterparts.

The Big-10, who is reportedly courting Missouri, handed out $22 million to each of its member teams last year.

So if you're wondering why Missouri is considering this move, despite being a staple in the Big-8/Big-12 for years, that's your answer.

The Big-10 has a television network that allows it to generate more profits than the Big-12. Missouri knows that if they leave, they'll be raking in 2-3 times as much money, which is something that they would seemingly have to do for both athletic and academic reasons.

Big-12 Commissioner Dan Beebe will tell you that lucrative contract extensions with FOX and ESPN are coming. And he's right. However, what he has going against him is that the most lucrative contract -- the one with ESPN -- runs through the 2015-2016 season. That means for another five years, at least, the Big-12 member payouts would be drastically less than the Big-10 and other conferences.

Add in the fact that the Big-10 is a better academic conference than then Big-12, and Missouri's decision should be easy.