Big East likes Tulsa but wants TV deal first
by Dan Wolken, USA TODAY Sports
The Big East is likely to add a 12th member, with Tulsa emerging as a strong favorite, but a final decision won’t be made until the league is closer to finalizing a television contract, a person familiar with the league’s plans told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the conversations are supposed to be confidential.
“Tulsa is the best draft pick left on the board,” the person said.
Though Big East commissioner Mike Aresco has talked publicly about adding another all-sports member in recent weeks, schools slated to be in the league in 2013 and beyond still don’t have enough information on how it would impact them financially.
The Big East has a 10-team football lineup locked in for 2013 and will replace Louisville and Rutgers with East Carolina and Tulane in 2014. Navy is scheduled to come aboard for football-only in 2015, which would bring the league up to 11 members.
If Tulsa (or anyone else) is added, the Big East would have 12 members and be able to stage a conference championship game in 2015. The question is whether adding one more team and a championship game would make financial sense, as the total revenue pie would be shared 12 ways instead of 11.
The Mountain West Conference, which now has 12 members after Boise State and San Diego State decided to stay west instead of going to the Big East, announced earlier this month it will stage a championship game in 2013. A person with knowledge of the Mountain West’s media deals told USA TODAY Sports schools were told to expect that game to generate about $1.5 million. Factoring in a slight money bump for the championship game participants, that would mean about $100,000 per school to distribute to the other 10.
A Big East championship game might generate more than that, but the information is still unknown among league members because television negotiations are ongoing and the league office hasn’t yet given schools hard (or even vague) numbers on what the final contract might yield under either scenario – … [For more on Big East likes Tulsa as No. 12 but wants TV deal first, click here.]