What a difference a year makes. The Big 12 has not only retained the core of its membership and added WVU and TCU, but now is as stable - or more so - as any other conference.
"The stability of the Big 12 Conference is cemented,'' Bowlsby said. "We are positioned with one of the best media rights arrangements in collegiate sports, providing the conference and its members unprecedented revenue growth and sports programming over two networks.''
The absence of a signed deal had already delayed many of the specifics regarding television coverage and kickoff times for the football season that began last weekend. The league had only announced three weeks of scheduling.
With a contract in hand, more details should begin flowing soon, although as always many of the specifics won't be announced until the networks decide two weeks ahead of time - and in some cases six days ahead of time - what games to broadcast on what networks and in what time slots.
But for the first time, every Big 12 football game will be televised on one network platform or another - typically ABC, one of the ESPN networks, Fox or one of the Fox platforms that include Fox Sports Net, FX and Fox College Sports.
How those games are divided up between ESPN and Fox remains a bit of a mystery, and that was the primary holdup in signing the deal. Fox was renegotiating a deal it had signed with the league in 2011 and matching it up with the ESPN extension of its contract with the league. Neither Bowlsby nor network executives would lend much detail to the process by which the networks divide the games, saying only that the deal gives Fox "enhanced selections'' through 2015 and that the networks will then rotate selections beginning in 2016.
Fox's primary platform, the over-the-air Fox Network, will televise at least six games per season, beginning with a prime-time contest two weeks from today that is expected to be Oklahoma-Kansas State. Fox will also carry Pac-12 games in prime time.
The contract also covers men's basketball - ESPN will carry 100-105 league games a year - as well as provisions for covering women's basketball and non-revenue sports. The deal also allows each school to retain the rights to one football and four men's basketball games each year.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.