Advertisement

Conference realignment: How much USF missed out on when Big 12 chose UCF

The Big 12 is finalizing a massive new TV deal. Here’s the gap between what USF will make from the AAC and what UCF will make from the Big 12.
 
Many USF football fans were hoping the Bulls would land in the Big 12. They haven't yet.
Many USF football fans were hoping the Bulls would land in the Big 12. They haven't yet. [ Times (2019) ]
Published Oct. 31, 2022

The cost of USF getting left behind in the last round of Big 12 expansion became clearer Sunday when news broke about the conference’s next TV deal.

Our unofficial estimate: more than $150 million.

The Big 12′s upcoming six-year deal with ESPN and Fox will be worth $2.28 billion, according to Sports Business Journal. That’s roughly $31.7 million per school from when it starts in 2026 until it ends in the 2030-31 school year.

In 2019, the American Athletic Conference signed a 12-year deal worth $1 billion. That amounted to roughly $7 million annually per school — a figure that’s expected to remain the same, despite UCF, Houston and Cincinnati leaving for the Big 12. Multiply that gap of almost $25 million times six years, and you approach $150 million.

Related: As conference realignment begins, USF picked a bad time to be bad at football

Including other revenue streams like the College Football Playoff, the Big 12 payout could be closer to $50 million per school annually.

The AAC gave USF $7.6 million in the 2020-21 year, according to the Orlando Sentinel. That’s up from about $5 million each of the previous two years, tax returns show.

Though the Big 12 has considered adding USF, the league chose not to include the Bulls in its last expansion, instead choosing the Knights, Cougars, Bearcats and BYU. They’ll join the conference next summer. The three AAC schools will pay the AAC $18 million over 14 years as an exit fee. Those three programs will also have to spend more to keep up with Oklahoma State, TCU and others.

Related: Conference realignment: How UCF is preparing for Big 12 move

It’s unclear when or if the Big 12 will expand again. Commissioner Brett Yormark has said his league will look to get into a fourth time zone if it does, which isn’t encouraging for USF.

Bohanon back

USF quarterback Gerry Bohanon announced on social media that he will play for the Bulls next season.
USF quarterback Gerry Bohanon announced on social media that he will play for the Bulls next season. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]

USF quarterback Gerry Bohanon announced on Instagram that he will remain with the Bulls for another year. He said in a video that he’s “very, very excited about coming back next season.”

The Baylor transfer injured his shoulder against Tulane and is recovering from season-ending surgery. Next season will be his final year of eligibility.

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter

We’ll send you news and analysis on the Bucs, Lightning, Rays and Florida’s college football teams every day.
Subscribers Only

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

• • •

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.