The Big 12 expansion rumor mill has taken a very small break -- meaning no multiple per day updates. We have some more news coming from Austin and what the Texas Longhorns think about expansion.
It is clear that Texas does not want to expand because the Big 12 wants a conference network and those in Austin do not want to give up their money-making machine that is the Longhorn Network.
The Austin American-Statesman reports that a source close to the Texas program says the odds are against expanding.
An influential Texas source puts the likelihood of expansion for the Big 12 at 15 percent. The source said the Longhorns could eventually go elsewhere, but not before the grant of rights involving first-tier television rights for marquee football and basketball games expires in 2024.
Sorry, Colorado State.
Texas not only wants to keep out earning the rest of the league with LHN, but the next contract -- assuming the league stays together -- very likely might not increase with the additional teams which are unable to bring in over $25 million per year.
Basically, it comes down to if Texas is willing to merger their network into a league-wide venture, but it would take a lot more than just writing a check to allow the Longhorns to keep making the same money from their third-tier rights.
In short, Texas holds the cards.
One other interesting quote from the same Texas source revolves around the future of Texas in the Big 12, and if Texas might leave the conference it "saved" back in 2010.
"Hell, yes," he said. "Broadcast rights are pledged through 2024. That is eight years of forced marriage. I see another realignment at that time, if not sooner. The Texas-OU football game would survive regardless of a league change."
Would Texas leave before 2024?
"Who knows?," he said. "A lot could happen."
The reason that Texas could leave to join pretty much any league outside of the ACC is because of money. Big 12 is basically tapped out for revenue. Adding more teams brings in more inventory but the gap between the Big 12 and the SEC is getting larger and larger.
Any of those conferences would do a lot to bring in Texas and thus add even more money to those leagues, and of course the Longhorns. Texas has the most to gain with the league staying pat and being patient, and ride through its next "eight years of forced marriage" before finding a better suitor.
To be fair, this is not all Texas not wanting to expand. The Big 12 is a mess in terms of organizationally with seemingly no real leader, and the one voice mantra lasted about a week. There is in-fighting within Oklahoma, Kansas State's new AD has said he does not favor expansion.
The Big 12 could still expand and bring in Colorado State -- for the Denver market, of course -- and the Longhorns could still leave after the grant of rights expires. It seems unlikely that the Big 12 would be able to rip up its current media rights deal and make a new deal with additional teams.
This is way down the road by if Texas does eventually leave the Big 12 then it would make sense for Oklahoma to go to the SEC and there likely would be at least one other team follow the Longhorns and Sooners to their new conference.
With a vote on even whether to expand may not come until after the season this is far from over, but reading that a source says that the odds of the Big 12 adding teams is very low can not make schools who are trying to get the last ride to a Power Five league feel all that comfortable.