In the newest episode of the conference realignment soap opera in NCAA college athletics, the Big 12 conference has voted to equally share revenue among all nine remaining schools (Texas A&M will leave for the SEC, so they really don’t get to vote on future matters of the conference). If all nine schools each approve of this measure individually, it will mean that the revenue from tier I and tier II television and media contracts will be split equally. Currently, the Big 12 uses an unequal revenue sharing system, which pays out money to schools in accordance to the number of times a school is on television. The problem with this is that the rich schools keep getting richer (Texas, Oklahoma) and poor schools keep getting poorer (Iowa St., Baylor). It looks like the Big 12, in hopes of keeping the conference together, and potentially enticing others to join is going to try and move to equal revenue sharing (like that used by the B1G Ten conference).
Of course equal revenue sharing also has its issues. In the Big Ten, teams like Illinois, Indiana and Purdue get equal share of revenue as teams like Michigan and Ohio State. What’s the problem? Well Michigan and Ohio St. spend big on their programs to try and bring in good recruits, and thus keep winning games. Schools like the Illinois, Indiana, Purdue trio spend very little, and get to share in the spoils that are brought in by the bigger and more popular athletic programs. In this sense, Michigan and Ohio St. are win maximizing (spending to try and win as many games as possible) while Illinois, Indiana and Purdue are profit maximizing (they spend little and get an equal share of a big revenue source).
Equal and unequal revenue sharing both have their positives and negatives. The big question now, is whether this change can help keep teams in the Big 12. It may be too little, too late.