But Texas A&M, with growing discontent over the Longhorn Network and other Big 12 issues, announced in September 2011 it was going to SEC. Missouri joined them later that year.
The Big 12 countered with the additions of TCU, which had been set to move from the Mountain West to the Big East, and West Virginia left the Big East for the Big 12.
"The Big 12 payout ... even with a half a share, is much more than it was in our previous conference,'' West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck said this week before the figures were announced.
Luck said West Virginia's department had about $60 million in revenue before the Big 12, and was close to $80 million this year. He sees that growing to the $100-million range in "probably a five-, six-year period.''
Bill Powers, the Texas president, said he is happy about the strength of the 10-team Big 12, considering the prevailing thought of the league's instability two and three summers ago.
"I don't know if vindication is the right word, but some recognition that, as the winds were tracking to the mega-conferences and we sort of resisted it, that we made a choice that was good for the conference and [am] absolutely convinced the choice is good for the student-athlete,'' Powers said. "I'm proud of what the conference did on that. Pleased, but not overly surprised.''
The Big 12 last September announced a new $2.6 billion, 13-year deal with ESPN and Fox Sports. That agreement also allows the Big 12 to retain the media rights and accompanying revenue of any school that leaves the conference. There is also an upcoming signing bonus from ESPN, along with television money that will be generated through the new College Football Playoff that begins with the 2014 season. And there is the Sugar Bowl matchup against the SEC that will generate another $40 million a season for the Big 12.
Bowlsby said the Big 12 likes the nine-game conference football schedule where everybody plays each other without a championship game, and the double round-robin schedule in basketball. Plus, the TV contracts go through 2024-25, providing plenty of stability for things to remain as they are.
"Until we get to the point that some of these television contracts are starting to expire, I just don't think there's going to be much conversation about major change,'' Bowlsby said.