- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

AUSTIN, TEXAS (AP) - Texas officials said Wednesday they are open to a new revenue-sharing model in the Big 12 and have already suggested that top-level television and cable money be shared equally.

But Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds says Texas doesn’t want to share the money from its Longhorn Network, a 20-year, $300 million deal with ESPN.

“That’s never been in play, that’s not in play,” Dodds said.

He said Big 12 athletic directors more than a month ago approved Texas’ suggestion to equally share to network revenue around the league, which is the practice in other leagues. The plan has not been voted on by league presidents, Dodds said.

“Those were Texas proposals,” Dodds said.

Texas President William Powers said creating stability is the top priority for the Big 12. And a day after the Pac-12 said it had no plans to add any Big 12 members, Powers said one way to build stability is to restructure media contracts.

“There are methods of doing that, including the way media deals are structured and we’ll be working with our partners in the Big 12 and our media partners to structure something that has stability,” Powers told reporters at the state Capitol.

When pressed on the prospect of revenue sharing, Powers said: “We are open to every idea … We’ve never said that’s off the table.”

About an hour later, Dodds said revenue-sharing offers don’t include sharing the Longhorn Network.

The Big 12 agreed to a 13-year television deal with Fox Sports in April worth more than $1 billion.

Texas gets a larger share of league media revenue from television contracts than some of the other Big 12 members. The Longhorns also signed a deal with ESPN in January to create the Longhorn Network that launched several weeks ago.

The network created uncertainty in the Big 12 and Texas A&M said it was a big reason why the Aggies will leave the Big 12 by July for the Southeastern Conference if legal issues can be cleared up.

Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne earlier this month said the Big 12’s revenue-sharing plan lends itself to instability as the Huskers opened their first season in the Big Ten. Each Big Ten school received $22.6 million this year _ about twice as much as Nebraska could have expected if it had stayed in the Big 12.

Powers said all issues are subject to discussion when talking with other Big 12 schools in the next few days.

“A lot of these issues that you hear (about) whether its revenue sharing or whatever, we’ve been working on long before,” he said. “We will continue to work on those. I’m not going to prejudge on how those will come out. There are not any preconditions for the conference coming back together.

“We want a stable, workable conference going forward,” Powers said.

As for bringing in new members, Dodds said he likes the 10-team model the league currently has. He acknowledged the league is considering BYU as the 10th member once Texas A&M leaves in 2012, but would not reveal any other potential candidates. Texas A&M is pursuing membership in the SEC.

While some league members might want to push the number back up to 12, Dodds said he considers a 10-team league “perfect.”

“I’ve heard conversations (about adding more teams), but I haven’t heard anyone get up on the table and say we’ve got to do 12,” Dodds said.

Dodds said he already considers the Aggies members of the SEC. The split threatens the future of the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry beyond 2011. Getting the Aggies into Texas’ non-conference schedule that is already most set for the next few years would be “problematic,” Dodds said.

Dodds said Texas and Oklahoma have a good working relationship and will work out any differences to help stabilize the Big 12.

“It’s not going to be a street fight,” Dodds said.

Dodds blamed the near-breakup of the Big 12 on university governing boards _ not Texas’, he said _ that wrested control of conference decisions from athletic directors.

“People on boards get involved and when they get involved collegiality sometimes stops,” Dodds said. “We’ve got to empower people on the athletics side to put this together and keep it together.”

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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