MORGANTOWN - Parts of the freshly minted television contract between the Big 12 Conference, ESPN and Fox remain somewhat a mystery.
For example, ESPN and Fox will in some fashion alternate first choice of football games over the life of the contract, with Fox getting what the league and the networks refer to as "enhanced selections'' for the first four years of the deal, and then the two networks' "rotating game selections" begin in 2016.
What specifically "enhanced selections'' means isn't quite clear, but with Fox beginning a new emphasis on college football, the network is likely to have more opportunities than ESPN for marquee matchups in the next four years.
For instance, the first scheduled Big 12 game between ranked opponents this season is the Sept. 22 game between Kansas State and Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. Fox said Friday that it would air a prime-time game that night without saying what it would be, but certainly it is OU-KSU rather than one of the four non-league games scheduled.
There is also the matter of money. The league and the networks did not release financial terms, but the value of the deal is widely believed to be $2.6 billion, with revenue sharing coming out to approximately $20 million per school per year.
West Virginia and TCU, the two first-year members of the league, won't receive full shares until 2015-17, but even at the graduated percentages until that time (50 percent in 2012-13, then 67 percent and 85 percent) the Mountaineers and Horned Frogs stand to make $10 million, then $13.5 million, then $17 million.
All of those figures are more than WVU was receiving from the Big East, which paid the school just under $10 million for 2011-12 (and withheld $9 million as part of the agreement to allow the school to leave the conference), which was substantially more than in most years.
There are other details that will no doubt emerge as the league and the networks begin operating under the contract and the week-to-week selections are made. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby also said there are provisions in the contracts for adjustments if the league expands, saying he thought everyone was happy "with the extent to which we can keep an ongoing dialogue about active issues and changing circumstances.''
For the most part, though, the agreements with the two networks are fairly specific in regard to many issues. Among the nuts and bolts are these, as provided by the league: