The Big 12 Conference is distributing a record $426 million of revenue to its 10 schools for the 2021-22 school year, a nearly 25% increase over last year and 10% higher than its peak before the pandemic.
Texas Tech president Lawrence Schovanec, chairman of the Big 12 board of directors, said Friday at the end of the league's spring meetings that the transitioning league is in "a very strong position."
Schovanec also said the search for a new conference commissioner is on track to be completed by mid-July.
Bob Bowlsby, the commissioner since 2012, announced his retirement earlier this year. He is staying on the job until a new commissioner is in place.
The Big 12 wrapped up its first in-person spring meetings since 2019, which was before the pandemic and when the league reported $388 million in revenue for that completed school year. That number was $345 million last June.
Big 12 revenues had increased 13 years in a row before the pandemic, which led to the cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournament and all spring sports championships in 2020, and the shortened football season that followed that fall with restricted fan access that carried over into basketball season.
After its previous record distribution for the 2018-19 school year, the Big 12 figures slipped to $377 million in revenue for 2019-20 in the school year when the pandemic began.
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"We clearly had some bumps in there, although … I think we got all but about three football games played and we got all but about eight basketball games played in 2021," Bowlsby said. "And so we didn't take as big a hit as it looked like we could have, when we were sitting in August 2020 and not knowing if we were even going to play football. … We came through it better than we could have, that's for sure."
The revenues are expected to increase again over the next two years, the final years of the league's media rights deal. That is also a time when the league will add new members BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF, likely all next summer, with powerhouse programs Oklahoma and Texas departing for the Southeastern Conference no later than July 1, 2025.