Nebraska, Colorado Big 12 Exit Fees Don’t Exist

Much of the reporting on the financial conditions required to ensure the survival of the Big 12 has centered on potential buyout penalties to be paid out to remaining members of the conference by Nebraska and Colorado.

Buffalo Nickel

(Not one nickel)

Multiple outlets have reported that Nebraska and Colorado will be required to pay the league between $6 and $10 million for the privilege of leaving the league. It has also been widely reported that as part of the negotiation to keep the league alive, the Big 12’s five have-not schools agreed to hand over that alleged NU and CU buyout money to Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas.

Sounds like a plan! If only it wasn’t completely untrue.

As noted by Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman this week, there is no existing Big 12 bylaw that states that teams departing from the league must pay out a penalty fee to remaining conference members.

Perlman noted on KLIN-AM in Lincoln yesterday that, “there is a liquidated damages provision that purports to make the existing members whole,” but that there is no pre-designated charge for leaving the conference.

That doesn’t mean though that there isn’t something in the Big 12 bylaws that will injure NU and CU financially. There is. And it’s the reason both schools are in such a mad dash to escape the league.

Under Big 12 bylaws, up to 80 percent of league revenue can be withheld from Colorado and Nebraska over the next two years, and conference commish Dan Beebe has stated on the record that he has every intention of garnishing 2011 revenue due the two schools.

That is the money that may end up being distributed between OU, UT and A&M. But as Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard and Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden noted yesterday, even that cash may not just go to the three schools.

Thanks to conference-wide bowl and television revenue generated by Colorado and Nebraska in 2011, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M may not lose any money in eschewing the Pac-10. If that’s the case, per Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe, the NU and CU money will go to all 10 remaining conference members.

The concession undertaken by the five have-nots in compensating Oklahoma, Texas and A&M only kicks in if the three schools are deemed to have lost money because of not making the move to the Pac-10. How that’s to be determined has not been made clear. But it apparently isn’t a lock that the trio of remaining Big 12 power players will see a dime directly from Colorado of Nebraska.