Television revenue was one of the hot topics at Thursday’s fourth and final meeting of the fiscal year of the Kansas Athletics, Inc. Board of Directors.
No, the quarterly meetings are not being broadcast on national TV for a handsome fee. But, starting in 2012-13, all Big 12 Conference football games will be.
Speaking at his second meeting as Kansas University’s athletic director, Sheahon Zenger once again praised the work of Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe, who last week announced the completion of a 13-year football contract with FOX. The deal was estimated to be worth $90 million annually and, more importantly, answered a lot of questions about the future of the conference.
“I think it safely puts the Big 12 back in the pole position with the Big Ten and the SEC in terms of television revenue dollars,” Zenger told the board. “The neat thing to watch was how the chancellors and presidents (at the 10 remaining Big 12 schools) were intimately involved. And I think that speaks to the strength of the conference.”
KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little also weighed in with her thoughts on the lucrative deal. Gray-Little admitted not to being the most knowledgeable sports mind in the room but also demonstrated with clarity that she understood exactly what the TV deal meant for KU.
“The way to describe it is huge,” Gray-Little said. “It’s huge. And there is a sense of solidarity now among the 10 schools that was not there at the end of the summer.”
In addition to pegging the timing of the deal with FOX as “perfect,” Zenger updated the board members on some of what he’d been up to since the conclusion of the 2010-11 basketball season and the start of the spring sports schedule.
“During that time, you get more interaction with donors,” Zenger said. “And I’ve benefited from that.”
In other action at Thursday’s meeting:
• The board debated changing the name of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee to the Athletics Advisory Committee, or something of the like, better to reflect its actual purpose. “I think it’s very practical,” Zenger said of the new name. “And I think it states what it actually is. The only caveat would be if the people actually on it would feel it’s a demotion.”
• Board chairman Jerry Bailey led a discussion of proposed revisions to the Articles of Incorporation and by-laws of the board. Those voted upon were passed unanimously, and others were tabled for future discussion.
• Finally, the board entered into a 20-minute executive session to discuss a property purchase.