Postscripts: Big 12 and Private Equity, Plus Name This Conference?

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What’s going on in the Big 12 and beyond? I expand and explain every Sunday in Postscripts at Heartland College Sports, your home for independent Big 12 coverage.

This week, the Big 12 is driving toward new revenue streams, the Pac-12 is making a date in Vegas and one more read on Jerry West.


The Private Equity 12

Private Equity has been swimming around college athletics for a bit now. But until last week only Florida State had dipped its toe into the water.

Now, the Big 12 is about to plunge in head first.

On Thursday CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd was the first to report that the Big 12 was deep in discussions with a Luxembourg-based private equity firm to get an infusion of cash for the league. That infusion was significant — potentially $1 billion for a up to a 20% stake in the conference.

For the next 36 hours, that was all anyone talked about — ESPN’s Pete Thamel said that “private equity is coming and coming fast to college sports” — even if most of us really didn’t know what it truly meant.

The fact is that until we know more about the deal — which we likely won’t learn more about until it’s agreed to — it’s hard to speculate on the impact. Is it good? Is it bad? I honestly don’t know.

But Matt Brown at Extra Points put together a really good piece about the unanswered questions — and the potential unintended consequences — of such an endeavor. I suggest you read it.


A few things are clear to me and to others.

First, there is a significant financial gap between the SEC and the Big Ten and everyone else. The Big 12 and the ACC, in particular, must look for every way to bridge that gap as much as it can. You’ll never catch either of them. But, as I’ve written many times, the goal for the Big 12 is to be the clear No. 3.

Commissioner Brett Yormark’s job is to delivery every revenue stream possible to the league’s membership. This would certainly qualify. There is risk involved. It’s his job to mitigate that for the league.

Second, revenue sharing with student-athletes is coming and fast. Bearcat Journal reported two weeks ago that the Big 12 has already communicated to its schools that they should be prepared to pay starting next August. The figure could be as high as $22 million per year. A judge will approve the amount later this year. And that doesn’t include the penalties each school owes from the House vs. NCAA settlement.

Auburn is a good example of why the extra revenue is relevant. reported that Auburn recorded record athletic revenue in fiscal year 2023. But, the Tigers only turned roughly $3 million in profit.

Everyone, assuming they opt into the rev share, is going to need extra money.

Third, no one in the Big 12 wants to be left behind. Everyone wants to stay competitive, and not just with the teams in the league. They want to compete with the SEC and the Big Ten, too. Money is a part of that. It’s the second-biggest part of the equation. Players are the first. And the money is how you get the players in this new world of college sports.

I think the timing of all of this is leading toward the Big 12 making the announcement at media days next month in Las Vegas. But we’ll see.

If you like tradition, this is going to hurt. Speaking of ….


Name This Conference

The Big 12 is also exploring agreeing to naming rights deal for the conference. Yep, that’s right. Pretty soon I’m going to have to write something like The Allstate 12 or the Big 12 Presented by Whataburger (boy wouldn’t that be a thing?).

It’s going to happen. In fact, the Big 12 may only be the first. Other conferences, including Conference USA, are considering it.

The money won’t be anything like the private equity deal. But, again, it’s a revenue stream. That’s the idea now — as many streams of revenue as possible. College sports can no longer live by media rights deal alone.

By the way, we have our own ideas on what the Big 12 should be called. Check out our Roundtable.


The Pac-12 Piggyback

We all know the Pac-12 isn’t what it used to be. But, the league’s remaining members — Oregon State and Washington State — aren’t going quietly into that good night.

For instance, while the Big 12 is hanging out in Las Vegas for media days the remaining Pac-12 members will have what they’re calling “After Hours with the Bears & Cougs, presented by the Pac-12,” on July 10.

Sorry I can’t make it. Got a flight out of town that night. But, it’s good to see these two teams doing their best to keep themselves in the spotlight.

Meanwhile, our Derek Duke wrote this ode to the Pac-12 earlier this week. We cover the Big 12, but we hate that all of this happened to the Conference of Champions.

Just a Kid from East Bank

We lost Jerry West this week. More importantly, West Virginia lost Jerry West. My piece on West ran earlier this week.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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