Why the Utes will get a full Big 12 share before Cougars do

Eye on the Y: The Tribune’s weekly roundup of news and notes from around the Big 12 conference.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe joins the festivities as the school sponsors a big party to celebrate their entrance into the Big 12 Conference on Saturday, July 1, 2023.

There are no rules in realignment.

Soon we’ll have Washington traveling to Rutgers, Oregon on the road to play Maryland, Arizona State off to West Virginia — and maybe the remnants of the Pac-12 playing some games on the Atlantic Coast.

That is unless you consider the money. Then there is one rule to realignment: Chase the biggest paycheck you can find and leave everything else in the past.

And if that is the reason why college football has reached this point, it’s at least worth looking into the financial timelines realignment created — particularly for BYU and Utah.

For BYU, it will be a full-share revenue member of the Big 12 by its third year in the league. That means waiting until 2025 before the Cougars see the full benefits of a Power Five membership.

For Utah, it will get its full share in 2024, its first year in the Big 12. Even though Utah joined the conference later, it will get the money sooner.

The reason has to do with timing and leverage.

BYU came in with UCF, Houston and Cincinnati. At that moment, the Big 12 didn’t have a new media rights deal signed. Plus, all four schools were coming from either independence or the Group of Five. They wanted to level up. Even with Texas and Oklahoma leaving, the conference had the power and could take the four schools at a discount.

As for Utah, the Big 12 already had a media rights deal signed when it was admitted. The deal included a pro rata clause that said if the conference added another Power Five school (up to 16 members) that program could come in as a full-share member immediately.

Utah was already getting Power Five money from the Pac-12. So in theory, if the Big 12 was going to lure the Utes away, it needed to give a full-share to make the offer enticing.

If the Big 12 offered Utah a discounted version of its media rights deal (say 50%) it would be less money than even a weak Apple TV offer the Pac-12 had (about $15 million compared with the $23 million deal the Pac-12 was looking at).

The financials here aren’t everything. For one, Utah was already getting more revenue than BYU from TV and media. It doesn’t change the playing field. Secondly, television revenue isn’t the only source of income for an athletic department.

Still, it’s another reminder of how lawless realignment can be.

Quick Hits

BYU’s overhauled roster has so many unknowns. But the “unknowns can run.”

BYU fall camp: Building a defense on the fly, finding a young core and key position battles.

Aaron Rodgers talks about Zach Wilson’s status.

Around the Big 12

Baylor — The running game was supposed to be a big part of the Bears’ revival in 2023. Now, it just lost one of its RBs.

UCF — What is the benchmark for success in first year in the Big 12?

Cincinnati — Satterfield talks first training camp.

Houston — Holgorsen discusses Big 12 expansion.

Iowa State — QB Hunter Dekkers at the center of gambling scandle as fall camp opens.

Kansas — The latest on Jalon Daniels’ status.

Kansas State — The Wildcats soar into the preseason Top 25.

Oklahoma — Is the Big 12 in the healthiest position yet?

Oklahoma State — Is this string of realignment exactly what OSU wanted?

TCU — Is 16th in the preseason poll too low for the national runner-ups? Or is it overselling?

Texas — Finds itself on a list of the biggest underachievers in college football. Will that change this year?

Texas Tech — Learning what the Red Raiders think of the new Big 12.

West Virginia — Wren Baker’s response to ASU’s comments.