Why Arkansas will not leave the SEC

 Looks like it is going to be a long, hot summer on the expansion front with reporters chasing ghosts and rumors of ghosts.

A radio station in Kansas City got everybody hot and bothered yesterday when it reported that the Big Ten had already extended offers to four schools: Missouri, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Rutgers. For the rest of the day there was one report after another from those respective campuses saying: “That’s news to us.”

Understand that a story like this is not true right up until the minute that it is. In other words, the invitations won’t be (officially) extended by the Big Ten until that league already knows they will be accepted.

The Big Ten is not going to extend and invitation to a school and say “No hurry, guys. Just do your homework and get back to us when you can.”

Nobody will get a chance to say “No” publicly to the Big Ten.

So let’s talk about something we do know when it comes to expansion and it is this: There has been speculation that if Missouri and/or Nebraska leave the Big 12 that SEC member Arkansas would be tempted to go back to its Southwest Conference roots. South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier speculated as much on a recent conference call of SEC coaches.

Let me tell you in no uncertain terms why that won’t happen. Back in 1991 Arkansas left the Southwest Conference for the SEC because athletics director Frank Broyles, one of the shrewdest administrators to ever walk on a college campus, could look down the road and see that he’d make more money—a lot more money—in the SEC. Commissioner Roy Kramer had a plan that entailed a 12-team conference with a championship game.

You’d have to say that Frank Broyles was right. In 1990 the 10 SEC schools shared $16.4 million, about $1.6 million per school.  Today, the SEC now has a $3 billion TV contract with CBS and ESPN. This season each SEC school will receive about $17 million in shared revenue during the spring meetings in Destin.

When you are trying to guess what school will land where if there is expansion upheaval, remember that these decisions made on the basis of money. Also remember that the SEC and the Big Ten are the big financial dogs in this game. Arkansas is not going to jump off the SEC train for less money in the Big 12. And they would get less money.

Berry Trammel, the fine reporter with the Daily Oklahoman, pointed out earlier this year that while the Big Ten and the SEC share their revenue equally, the Big 12 does not. The Big 12 puts half of its revenue in a common pool which is shared equally. The other half goes into an “appearance” pool and is passed out based on the number of times a team is on TV. Obviously a system like that accrues greater benefits to Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. The gap between Texas, which will earn about $12 million this season, and the bottom team in the league is several million dollars.

 Obviously, the other members of the Big 12 don’t particularly like this arrangement but those three schools, especially Texas, make up the engine that drives the financial train. You want Texas to leave? Try changing that formula.

Missouri will go to the Big Ten if offered for that very reason. Do you think Arkansas wants to jump into that environment? No chance.

 

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262 comments Add your comment

14TH--ON THE WAY

May 11th, 2010
9:05 am

If the big XII does get eviscerated by the other conferences, I wonder which way Texas will jump? They are the 800 pound gorilla in this scenario

P.T.

May 11th, 2010
9:05 am

Tony,

Does the SEC’s TV contracts with CBS/ESPN address expansion should that occur? Will the SEC and networks renegotiate the deal or will the current institutions receive less per annum as a result of additional teams?

Is there more TV money for the SEC through expansion? Right now, I’m thinking the Big 10 got it right with creating their own network.

Ron Mexico

May 11th, 2010
9:05 am

Good in theory… however… should the Big 10 go to 14 or 16 teams (with revenue buoyed by additional households and the Big 10 Network), the SEC will likely pick up 2-4 additional teams. But the SEC’s contract (at the moment) is fixed, that $17 million per school will go down if more schools are added as there is limited additional income (figure an additional mid-tier bowl, and possibly a change to the rule allowing a 3rd BCS participant). In that case, if the Big 12ish comes up with plan involving the Pac 10 and a new TV network (similar to the Big 10 Network), there may be enough cash to make pig suey jump.

freehawk

May 11th, 2010
9:06 am

Thanks for the interesting figures, and for being a voice of reason in this. Fun discussion, especially as the summer gets going, but folks are getting a little overheated already.

#2 BAMA FAN

May 11th, 2010
9:06 am

What has Arkansas done for the SEC? 1 NC in baketball and a lot of track titles and that is about all!!
Bring in FSU and Miami and the SEC East would be very interesting!! Texas will never join the SEC
or Oklahoma because they are the only major football powers in the Big 12. RTR

DawginLex

May 11th, 2010
9:06 am

clemson and GT need to join the SEC.

Enough said.

The rivalries with UGA alone would be amazing.

Peadawg

May 11th, 2010
9:12 am

I wouldn’t mind seeing the SEC add maybe Texas, Texas A&M(west), FSU, Clemson(east). That’d be pretty cool.

Stuart

May 11th, 2010
9:18 am

Good article Tony, the only mistake, I think, is that the commissioner who worked out the deal for the SEC was Harvey Schiller, not Roy Kramer. Kramer was too busy running interference for Tennessee.

ga gator

May 11th, 2010
9:21 am

Another point missed Tony; If there is going to be expansion and I agree that there will be. It will have an even number of teams. The KC radio station obviously speculated but without the knowledge the Big Ten already has 11 teams so any expansion would either be 1,3 or 5 teams in order to have 2 even divisions for their playoff.

Mybe So

May 11th, 2010
9:22 am

It’s all about money vs. success. Anyone who tells you the Big 12 is not as big a gold mine as the SEC is an idiot. Arkansas would have a chance to win the North EVERY year, which will gain the $$ and recruits. That being said, do I think it will happen?? NOPE, I agree with Tony on this one.

jdawg

May 11th, 2010
9:22 am

i would rather sec add Tex, Tex A&M, and Va Tech … bringing in the big TX tv markets and the Wash DC tv markets… then look at Clemson, FSU or Okla as the final participant… if is is Clemson or FSU then new alignments would be easy to add…. but if it is Okla, then switch Auburn to east..

RamblinRed

May 11th, 2010
9:25 am

TX will not join the SEC. They have to be the top dog in charge of decision making and they wouldn’t be in the SEC.
Given that the Pac-10 and Big-12 are openly discussing an alliance right now that would include a TV network it appears that they are already planning for what they see as a likely restructuring.

The biggest issue the SEC has to deal with is that the Big 10 is looking to further expand its revenue generation by adding the right schools that bring large fanbases and new cable networks so their money pot for each school stays the same or increases. Meanwhile the SEC is locked into a long-term TV contract with a fixed revenue stram – meaning the avg payout if the SEC goes from 12 to 16 teams drops from $17MM per school to $12.75MM per school. SEC will have to start looking at other ways to create more revenue.

Miles

May 11th, 2010
9:29 am

Follow the money trail…simple…

JB

May 11th, 2010
9:32 am

Oduma looks at all this revenue for pleasure on weekends and see’s one thing. A tax. Yes, why should all this pleasure go for free. I’m thinking $5.00 for every ticket and let’s say 2.00 for watching on the tube. big big money………….Works for booze and smokes……Can college football be far behind ?
All kidding aside……can November 2nd get here soon enough ?

Da truth

May 11th, 2010
9:32 am

Besides the potential for more money, someone please explain to me why 14 or 16 is better than 12. These Presidents/Boards are such hypocrits.

Otto

May 11th, 2010
9:33 am

RamblinRed, If that money train in the Big12 comes to a stop they may join. The 3 strongest football programs in the Big XII North are open to talking to other conferences, including Nebraska whose Tom Osborne has been reported as never being in favor of the contract with the Big XII.

Tony did not mention Colorado being open to leaving the Big XII. If Texas is not careful they could be the only one generating money in a 2nd tier conference.

Red Clay Hound

May 11th, 2010
9:36 am

The NCAA needs to tell Notre Dame they have to join a conference or they can’t play for the national championship. This forces them to join the Big 10. Case solved, expansion completed, now we can move on.

Otto

May 11th, 2010
9:36 am

RamblinRed, Further most talk has said that contracts are open to renegotiation if there is a major change such as conf. expansion. Slive will have a way to make more money if the SEC expands.

learn something everyday

May 11th, 2010
9:37 am

peadawg : I agree with you 90%. Except for FSU, would love to see them in SEC just don’t see it happening, so toss that out and add Oklahoma and you have a far better chance of getting Tex and A & M. Toss Auburn into the East with Clem, the rest goto the west.

4 non-conf games a year no more, drop to 2. This way the SEC can maintain 1 permanent inter-divisional rival and still play 2 inter-divisional games a year. Leave space for 1 good out of conf (i.e. UGA vs Tech, UF vs FSU/MIA, etc…) and 1 cupcake. No more 2-4 cupcakes a year, save that space for vandy and miss st.

WEST:
LSU
Ole Miss
Ark
Miss St.
Tex
Tex A&M
Okla
Alabam

EAST:
Tenn
Clemson
Auburn
Florida
So Car
UGA
Vandy
Kentucky

Yeah the West would be loaded at first but that would ebb + flow over time.

Would be the best conference in all of football. No need to kill the ACC. If Colorado does bolt for Pac-10 it could be in realm of possibility, other wise, Big 12 picks up TCU and either Utah/BYU/Air Force and calls it a day.

kaput

May 11th, 2010
9:39 am

You’re paying less in taxes now, JB. But let’s not let facts ruin your pity party.

Will

May 11th, 2010
9:41 am

Very simple, if Arkansas moves out of the SEC, they could work a deal like Texas has where they get shares based on tv appearances, which means they could actually make MORE money that way with a better deal. And have less competition. Smart move for Arkansas and they’re outta here, Ark has said nothing for months to stop the rumors, and the rumors are heavy.

Kiffinisatosser

May 11th, 2010
9:43 am

Tony is partly right. One of the things hat must be percolating insie the Big 12 is a realization that their approach to revenue sharing is a source of weakness. My guess is that a reconstituted Big 12 would not have this feature and may well have an SEC type TV contract to boot. When that happens, look for Arkie to go home.

stubby

May 11th, 2010
9:43 am

Texas makes less now in television revenues than does Arkansas.

Arkansas would be crazy to jump, they’ll make much less in the Big 12 . . .

learn something everyday

May 11th, 2010
9:43 am

oh and eliminate the home + home for the inter-div rotation and you play everyone in other division every 4 years.

Kiffinisatosser

May 11th, 2010
9:44 am

or what Will said :-)

HogFan

May 11th, 2010
9:47 am

#2 BamaFan What are you talking about, the Hogs are a respectable team that has made the SEC championship 4 times. Why don’t you go pick on Ole Miss or Miss St. or South Carolina. We went to the final four in College baseball just last year and as you mentioned a lot (like 35) track titles. FSU and Miami? How will that help the SEC West? Oh yeah we are gonna kick your Bama this year.

SimpleDawg

May 11th, 2010
9:59 am

TB,

I can see Missouri and Rutgers joining the Rust Belt Athletic Conference, but Nebraska and Notre Dame will say no. The RuBAC will then need to approach another school…maybe Syracuse.

The Big 12 will then add TCU and maybe a couple more…..possibly La. Tech, Memphis, UTEP, or Tulsa….just to get to a workable even number.

If the SEC were to expand, FSU, USF, or UCF are possible invitees…..stadium size would be a major consideration, and all 3 play in big stadiums.

The ACC would look at ECU, and whichever schools in Florida are left.

The best case scenario would be for the Goldie Domers to join the RuBAC and for everyone else to remain as is. The RuBAC schools would realize their dream of bedding ND, and no others would have to sell their souls.

reality

May 11th, 2010
10:01 am

The economic downturn may force the hand when it comes to realignment…and also force the hand of the conferences to start adopting a playoff system.

The reality is that right now, with tax revenue down, football is actually helping support the rest of the university.

Entertainment is a pretty defensable business to be in…and the academics can secure their revenue streams so they and theirs can protect their seats at the lunch counter…one hand is open to recieve “donations” from the athletic department…the other is a closed fist to rant against the evils of big time collegiate athletics.

It’s a pretty funny thing to watch….almost as entertaining as watching republicans and democrats argue about who is right.

Kiffinisatosser

May 11th, 2010
10:02 am

Hey HogFan…question. Do you guys miss playing the Texas teams? Setting money aside, are you and most other fans happy to be in the SEC? I must confess that I want Arkie to leave the SEC not because I don’t like it…it just seems to be culturally and historically more oriented to the west than the east.

5IML

May 11th, 2010
10:03 am

Hogfan,

You made some valid points but lost all credibility with the last sentence. BAMA will smack you around like we always do. Don’t believe what you’re reading about the Hogs competing for the SECW this year. It’s kinda like last year’s Ole Miss hype.

Dawg 17/20

May 11th, 2010
10:05 am

They will stay and if they can get their D under control they will have a good 2010 season……including beating the UGA Bulldawgs.

Mark "Crimson Crier" Ingram

May 11th, 2010
10:06 am

So will the Big 10 become the Big 14 or 16 or will have the continual identity disorder that Auburn has, where they don’t know whether they’re Tigers or War Eagles?

Reptiles Rule

May 11th, 2010
10:07 am

They’re gonna keep messing around until they screw up college football like they have done to all the pro sports……

Kiffinisatosser

May 11th, 2010
10:08 am

Dear Bama delusionists…you lost 9 starters on your defense. Yes, the talent is good, but no experience = getting sliced and diced by a team like Arkansas…or …gulp…Auburn. Or heaven forfend…both plus Florida.

Kiffinisatosser

May 11th, 2010
10:10 am

Damn straight Reptiles Rule…all of this is crap is starting to make me sick. 99% blame is with moronic Notre Dame. They are going to bring the whole edifice crashing down in order to preserve their independence.

collegeballfan

May 11th, 2010
10:12 am

OK, you convinced me. Arkansas will stay in the SEC.

HogFan

May 11th, 2010
10:12 am

I am mixed on all of that I grew up in the 90’s so I’m not big on the old SWC tradition. We are playing A&M for the next ten years in Jerry Land and since I live in Houston now it will be fun talking a lot of smack. I know for sure that the older generation loves to hate Texas and a lot of that has rubbed off on me. I think we are in a win win situation right now. As for 5IML that was Nutt’s way when his teams aren’t suppose to do anything they do well when there is hype they don’t. Let’s see how Petrino handles it. I love the SEC bc it is the best conference and I like playing the best teams even if we are only successful every four years.

T3

May 11th, 2010
10:13 am

Boy, this was a REALLY “busch-leaue” article by TB.

Much has been overlooked.

First, Arkansas still has very long & deep ties to teams like Texas, Houston, OK, etc. from the old Southwest Conference (SWC).

Second, what TB “conveniently” failed to say was that Arkansas didnt just wake up one morning and say “Hey lets dump the SWC and go join the SEC. It might be fun over there.”

The TRUTH…was that the SWC had been hit by repeated recruiting scandals in 1980s. The ONLY programs not NOT put on probation for recruiting scandals during those times were Arkansas, Rice, and Baylor.

Those scandals resulted from the competely cut-throat environment of the SWC. It all began to really unravel when SWC team member, SMU, got the death penalty in 1987. That marked the beginning of the end for the SWC that precipitated Arkansas looking for a new home.

Broyles didnt choose the SEC because simply it was a BETTER conference than the SWC, or THE BEST of many different conference choices. He chose it because it was THE ONLY CHOICE. Theres a difference between choosing among GOOD OPTIONS, and HAVING to choose THE ONLY option.

Broyles hand was forced by the coming demise of the SWC,
so he really had NO CHOICE but to join the SEC.

At THAT time, there were really no other viable alternatives to the SWC. The former Big8 conference added Tx, TxAM, OK, OKSt to make it the Big12. Just Ask Nebraska AD Tom Osbourne how much he loves having the “texas” people running HIS conference.

Take it to the bank: Nebraska is going to the Big10.

If the Big12 has to replace Nebraska and/or Mizzou, you can also
TAKE IT TO THE BANK: Arkansas will get the VERY FIRST phone call.
Houston will get the second call. BTW, Houston is the third largest university in Texas, behind ONLY U-Texas and TexasA&M.

That was THEN. And now, things are VERY different. Arkansas has a REAL choice now: stay with the SEC, or join up again with their old SWC friends. And, there’s nothing to keep the Big12 from re-negotiating their revenue sharing arrangements with all members.

And, there is simply NO WAY you can count out the possibility that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones might just want to see HIS alma mater going back towards its old SWC “roots.”

Folks forget: Jones won a National Championship in 1964 at Arkansas.
Jones is a MULI-BILLIONAIRE. If Jones really wants Arkansas to leave the SEC, then Arkansas will leave. Period.

If joins wants Arkansas in the Big12, then he will likely see to it that Big12 revenue-sharing arrangements are changed so that Arkansas doesnt get short shrift. If Arkansas switches, they’ll end up getting AT LEAST the $17 Million they currently get from the SEC. New TV contracts coming for the Big 12, and perhaps a Pac10/Big12 “alliance” will ensure much more money starts flowing into Big 12 teams, which might include Arkansas.

Lastly, while this article was mainly about Arkansas, TB does hold Broyles up for some mild admiration as TB states: “…Frank Broyles, one of the shrewdest administrators to ever walk on a college campus.”

Again, what TB “chose” not to mention was that Broyles was from Decatur,GA. Broyles was also a star QB at GT, and later the GT Off Coord for Bobby Dodd from 1951-1956. Dodd practically BEGGED Broyles to come back to GT to be the AD. Broyles chose to stay with Arkansas, since Broyles acknowledged it was much easier to recruit in a “one-school” state like Arkansas than to have compete for recruits
with GT’s high academic standards.

Amazing how much TB chooses to leave out.

SimpleDawg

May 11th, 2010
10:16 am

Texas, T A & M, and Oklahoma would never join the SEC…..they would consider that tantamount to surrender in the face of a superior force – which they don’t believe is so.

As long as Texas, A & M, Oklahoma, and Nebraska sick together, the Big 12 will continue to be viable as a major football conference……and able to attract whoever they need to remain solvent.

The PAC-10 will expand to 12 teams – it’s inevitable, and there are many options.

ND’s false sense of superiority is the fly in the oinment.

Kiffinisatosser

May 11th, 2010
10:19 am

While we are at it, the SEC championship game ain’t all that. Yes, last year we had the perfect storm, but to be honest, even it devalues the regular season. Re-matches are for pro wrestling…not college football.

So why it has become the be all end all model for conference arrangements is beyond me. The reason the SEC got its TV contract is not because of the championship game. It is because the SEC is so full of obsessive borderline personality fans that there is money to made with anything branded SEC. Hell, if they ran a middle school girls football league in July sponsored by the SEC and wearing school uniforms, the Bammers would probably fill Bryant Denny stadium.

jumbeauxtriger

May 11th, 2010
10:20 am

Arkansas is not leaving the SEC and I like having them in the conference. I think all of their big 3 programs are competetive and they have a strong fan following.

It’s amusing some of the names that are tossed around here that the BCS conferences would take: Tulsa, Memphis, LaTech, UCF, etc. No way any of those schools will go in a big-time conference such as the Big 12, SEC or Big 10.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

Navigator

May 11th, 2010
10:20 am

Enough people at Arkansas feel the SEC thinks of them as an adopted child, never one of the family. Frank Broyles, what does he have to do with this now. You’re trying to make your point about money, but the re-addition of Arkansas to replace Missouri would be big. They are on the border of Texas and Oklahoma and the alumni haven’t forgotten those monumental games against Texas. What rival do they have in the SEC???

ga gator

May 11th, 2010
10:23 am

I think it would be quite funny if ND did not join the Big Ten and the Big Ten still expanded to 14 or 16 teams and started the domino’s to fall with other conference realignments and they became the only independent. If they dont improve in a hurry in football NBC might not re up their contract.

HogFan

May 11th, 2010
10:23 am

The SEC championship might as well be called the National Championship. Who ever wins the SEC wins the NC, it’s a pretty simple equation.

Kiffinisatosser

May 11th, 2010
10:24 am

Cut Tony’s article – Paste in its place T3’s post. Tony, the gauntlet has been laid down. How shall you respond?

SimpleDawg

May 11th, 2010
10:25 am

Ooops! I completely forgot about Houston. They would certainly be a great fit if Misouri and/or Nebraska leaves the Big 12.

I still don’t think the Huskers will leave for the RuBAC.

ga gator

May 11th, 2010
10:25 am

Kiffinisatosser, you are wrong about the TV contract. They got it because of the brand of football played in the conference. What conference are you from?

learn something everyday

May 11th, 2010
10:25 am

navigator: LSU, Ole Miss.

HogFan

May 11th, 2010
10:28 am

NAVIGATOR well I don’t like them Tigers much or Bama I consider them a rival, but you’re right is seems forced a little.

learn something everyday

May 11th, 2010
10:29 am

jumbeauxtriger : UCF is about the only real possibility in that list. Your right about the rest. but, think of it over time, yeah they would be bottom of the barrell for a long while, but give them 10 years… bigger stadiums/facilities with revenue sharring and ability to get better recruits with conference cred.