Dan Beebe says Big 12 now taking steps he touted

By RALPH D. RUSSO | October 9, 2011 | 3:10 PM EDT

Ousted Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe says he touted equal revenue sharing and members granting their television rights to the conference years ago, but the schools — and not just Texas — liked the idea of being able to start their own networks.

Beebe said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Sunday that Oklahoma, Nebraska and even Texas A&M were interested in the idea of starting some type of network for their sports programs.

The Big 12 recently agreed to switch to equal revenue sharing after years in which the schools that made the most television appearances received the most money.

The schools also agreed to hand their most lucrative television rights over to the conference for six years, a move that makes it practically impossible for members to switch leagues.

Beebe said he first brought up equal revenue sharing in 2008 and the members never even voted on it. Nebraska, which left the Big 12 for the Big Ten last year, was among the schools against equal revenue sharing.

In 2009, ahead of television negotiations, Beebe said he asked the members to grant the conference their top-tier television rights, and the schools balked, again without it ever going to a vote.

"Had we been able to do that none of the schools probably would of had a chance to leave because a significant amount of their rights would have been with the conference," he said.

"I knew we weren't going to be able to get what the Big Ten and Pac-10 had done, which is a blank grant of rights, all the rights of the institutions to the conference for a 20-year period, without knowing what they were going to get in return," he said.

"So my position was just grant a segment of the rights that you have to the conference so I know when I go to the marketplace what I have to sell."

Beebe was pushed out of the job he had held for five years last month and replaced on an interim basis by Chuck Neinas, who former Big Eight commissioner.

Beebe said he was never given a specific reason as to why he was pushed out of his job last month.

He also said he was disappointed Texas A&M had already been working toward a move to the Southeastern Conference before he was allowed to address the Aggies' concerns about Texas' Longhorn Network.