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Big 12 Achieves Stability, Record-Setting Revenue

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Just a few short years after four schools bolted for other conferences, the Big 12 has regained their stability and is producing both on the field and in the balance sheet.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Since the Big 12 has been reduced to 10 teams, many people around the country have questioned the long-term sustainability of the conference. Though ‘One True Champion' didn't exactly pan out, the Big 12 proved that it was a deep conference for football -- producing two teams that had a legitimate argument for making the first College Football Playoff -- and will likely send six or seven teams to the NCAA tournament, which should be more than any other conference. The Big 12 sent three of the eight contenders in the 2014 College World Series, and currently have five team's sitting in the top 25 as we're a few weeks into the 2015 season. It would be hard for someone to convince me that the Big 12 isn't the deepest overall conference, touching all sports.

The Big 12's success is affecting their bottom line now too, which is a good thing for the 10 schools involved. Jon Solomon of CBS Sports reports that the Big 12 distributed $225.9 million to their 10 teams for the 2013-14 year, which ended June 30, 2014.

The 10-team Big 12 conference reported that its annual revenue increased by $10.6 million to $225.9 million during the most recent fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014. A year earlier, the Big 12's total revenue spiked by $57.6 million after new television contracts with Fox and ESPN.

The Big 12's average payout to its schools was $19.8 million, up from $18.6 million a year earlier. Every Big 12 school received approximately $21 million last year except for TCU and West Virginia, who don't start collecting a full share until 2015-16. TCU received $14.3 million and West Virginia took in $14.2 million.

According to Big12Sports.com, eight schools (sans West Virginia and TCU who don't start earning a full share until the 2015-16 fiscal year) received $23 million.

The conference will distribute approximately $212 million to its member schools. Eight of the Big 12 schools each will receive approximately $23 million. The revenue distribution that each school receives doesn't include the money each institution gains from third-tier media rights. That revenue varies from $3 million to $15 million.

TCU and West Virginia, which are about to start their third season as Big 12 members, received a 67 percent share in revenue distribution for the 2013-14. Those schools will receive nearly $14 million each in revenue distribution. A year ago, those two received $11 million. Both schools agreed to the lesser distribution as part of a four-year phase-in agreement put in place when those schools joined the Big 12.

It seems that the Big 12 is in a great spot right now, both financially and on the field. It's interesting to note in that article that some conferences - including the SEC and ACC - are trying to follow the Big 12's lead with some of the financial decisions they're making.

I still think the Big 12 needs to fix their ‘One True Champion' slogan, and selfishly I would love to see a conference championship game in Football. But there is no doubting the depth the Big 12 has accumulated across every sport. I'll be honest, it is very hard for me to root for some Big 12 schools, and I love to see some of the other fan bases suffer, but in the end, we're all in this together and need to pull for our conference in bowl games, the NCAA tournament (both men's and women's) and the College World Series.

Ultimately I would love to see the Big 12 add two more teams (we'll bench the topic of which ones for another post), but there's no denying that the leadership in the Big 12 has done a great job of bringing back stability in a conference that a lot of us thought would crumble.