T. Boone Pickens thinks Texas Governor, and Republican Presidential hopeful, Rick Perry can step in and wield some of his influence on his alma mater, Texas A&M, to try and keep them from bolting for the SEC.
Pickens does think A&M is starting to soften their stance, and may be willing to stay with the Big 12.
“I think the Aggies are sobering up…I keep thinking they’re hearing me…I’m not sure they’re listening to me. But they trust me.”
Pickens calls Baylor’s threat of a lawsuit real, noting they have nothing to lose, and called on the rest of the Big 12 to lean harder on Texas to alter their relationship with ESPN and the Longhorn Network.
Ultimately though, Pickens is hoping Gov. Perry can be the difference-maker, and suggested it could be good for Perry’s presidential aspirations.
Pickens said he told Perry to show America that “you fix problems, don’t contribute to ’em.”
Perry is a former Texas A&M yell leader. “After the Aggies leave school, they’re still looking for a yell leader,” Pickens said. He said he told Perry to be that leader.
Most might think a guy running one of the biggest states, and running for the highest office in the land, might have more important issues on his plate. But there is more at stake here than a few rivalries.
The Big 12 just signed a new 13-year, $1.1 billion deal with Fox Sports to air conference football games. That, combined with their previous deal with ABC and ESPN could be worth as much as $15 million per year, per school. And despite their lack of on-the-field success, Texas A&M is one of the most popular football programs in the country, and an important piece in these TV deals.
There is also concern that some schools could lose a seat at the very lucrative BCS table. Payouts for participating in a BCS bowl game are divided amongst all schools in the conference. And if there is no Big 12, there is no automatic BCS bid, and there is no money to share.
In the end, Pickens may be leaning on Gov. Perry as a football fan. But Gov. Perry could also save tens of millions of dollars for schools in his own backyard. And that might be earn him a few votes next fall.
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