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.
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.
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.
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.
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