Scott Satterfield: Coaching in Big 12 Was a ‘Huge, Huge Selling Point’
The Cincinnati Bearcats, along with BYU, Houston, and UCF, will enter the Big 12 in just a matter of weeks. Once they arrive, the newly Power Five programs, coined the “Freshman Four” by CBS Sports’ Shehan Jeyarajah, will embark on a journey to see eye-to-eye with programs like Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Kansas State.
A massive increase in television revenue will help with the transition, as becoming a power five football program will be costly.
With increased expenses pertaining to facilities, coaching staffs, fan experience, and countless other factors, making the move to the Big 12 was a big step for Cincinnati. At the Group of Five level, a lack of funds meant losing coaches every year, with big-time programs plucking the best coaches out of conferences like the AAC and Conference-USA.
“When I was at App State, you know you’re going to lose coaches year-in and year-out because you just can’t pay them,” Cincinnati coach Scott Satterfield said. “Another difference is recruiting budget, what you’re able to spend on resources to go out recruiting and also on-campus recruiting. One of the things you can do is when groups come on campus, some of these schools, they’ll lay out the red carpet. If you don’t have the money, you can’t do that.
“Can you still win? Yes, you can still win,” he continued. “But all those things help.”
But now, in the Big 12, programs like Cincinnati at least have a better shot at keeping their coaches, at least if contract value is the only selling point for an interested suitor.
However, there are other things working in the Big 12’s favor when it comes to keeping coaches. According to Satterfield, a former ACC head coach at Louisville, the Big 12 was a step up.
“The fact that they were going into the Big 12 was a huge, huge selling point for me,” Satterfield said. “I was sitting there in the ACC, playing some big-time ball in a big-time conference. The opportunity now to go play in another Power Five conference at a place where I felt administration — at the highest level on campus and within the athletic department — was much more stable. That was very, very important for me.”
The Big 12 might not be on the same level as the Big Ten or SEC when it comes to television deals, but the conference feels good about its stature heading into the expanded College Football Playoff era. After TCU ascended to the national championship in 2022-23, the rest of the conference is feeling good about their chances going forward, especially with solid membership through 2030-31.
The conference’s stature moving forward has folks from all over Big 12 country feeling good about their new TV deal, and what’s to come after that.
“Obviously, the dollars are always important, but it’s just as important the exposure that you get,” Cunningham said. “When you’re on Fox and when you’re on ESPN, you’re in every bar in every restaurant in the country all the time … and there’s some strategy behind that shorter-term contract because we know we’ll have an opportunity to go back out and do another deal after that. To get the deal done and to quickly get the deal done has put us in an absolute prime spot in my mind.”