Saturday, June 23, 2007

Weiberg's Curious Decision to Leave

Why did Kevin Weiberg, voted the fourth-most influential person in college athletics only 2.5 years ago by Sports Business Journal, leave his job as Big 12 commissioner to become vice president of planning and development for the Big Ten Network?

Although Weiberg did a lot of good for the conference, cracks were beginning to develop among the have-nots in the conference, who are not given an equal share of the league's TV revenues.

Big 12 teams share all conference-generated revenue with the exception of TV money. That discrepancy has helped create budget discrepancies between the conference’s elite teams like Nebraska, Texas and Texas A&M and bottom feeders like Kansas State and Iowa State.

According to Big 12’s Internal Revenue Service filings obtained by the Omaha World-Herald, Texas was allocated the most money at $9.68 million in the 2006 season. Kansas State received the least at $6.47 million.

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard has been the loudest critic of the way the Big 12 splits the TV pie. Pollard, who came to Ames from Wisconsin, started a campaign to split revenues equally, which is the way they do business in the Big Ten.

"That is a reason they have grown their brand as strong as they have," Pollard said.

Weiberg appeared to acknowledge that it was time for the Big 12 to change its ways during his exit press conference.

"I'm a proponent of more equal revenue sharing on the television front," he said. "I’m certain that issue will have to be aired out fully, and maybe the new person will have a good opportunity to do that."

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