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Pac-12 Expansion: Talks Heating Up For Texas, Others To Form Pac-16

Conference realignment Armageddon seems to be here, as the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers are officially on their way out of the Big East and heading to the ACC. This now puts pressure for other teams who were considering making moves, in particular the Oklahoma Sooners. They have had plans on moving to the Pac-12 ever since the Texas A&M Aggies moved onto the SEC.

Now, it looks like the Pac-12 is about to be the Pac-16 with the inclusion of the Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma St. Cowboys, Texas Longhorns and Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Longhorn Network has been the sticking point to why Texas has not been a sure move to join the Pac-12. The conference has equal revenue sharing.

Now according to the Austin American-Statesman the Pac-12 is working on a way to allow Texas to join the Pac-12 and keep their Longhorn Network:

The Longhorns would be able to keep all of their revenue from the network if that amount is greater than one-sixteenth of what the entire Pac-12 receives for its third-tier rights. However, if one-sixteenth of the money the Pac-12 receives from third-tier rights ends up being a larger amount, the schools would divide the revenue evenly and everybody would receive the same amount, the source said.

"Nothing has been definitively confirmed. But that's in the zip code," a source very familiar with the realignment discussions said Sunday. "This is not yet a done deal. It appears that (Pac-12 commissioner) Larry Scott is going to be able to work some magic and help Texas keep the Longhorn Network and their revenue stream."

Texas will need to make a lot of money from their Longhorn Network in order to keep the revenue from their channel. The Pac-12 regional networks are expected to bring in $1 billion over the course of the Pac-12 media deal, which runs for 12 years starting in Aug. 2012. This means that for Texas to get revenue for the Longhorn Network under the current revenue structure (the revenue for third tier rights may very well increase by adding Texas' large following in addition to Oklahoma's) on third-tier rights, the LHN would have to earn approximately more than $5,208,333.33 per year. Currently Texas is receiving a $15 million per year from ESPN for the Longhorn Network. 

Also, nothing is firm on this agreement and there is nothing mentioned if Texas Tech programming would be included. The current regional channels are set up with teams pairing with each other. 

The negotiations are heating up and Texas has a Board of Regents meeting on Monday. There could be a decision which would allow university president Bill Powers to make a move regarding realignment.

For more on the Pac-12 head over to Pacific Takes.