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Big 12 commissioner: Adding title game not about money

The Big 12 is bringing back a football championship game this season -- and commissioner Bob Bowlsby says it's all about helping conference teams get into the College Football Playoff.

"I can tell you the decision was made a hundred percent on our ability to optimize our ability to get a team into the CFP," Bowlsby said during his state of the conference address that kicks off Big 12 Media Days every year.

Bowlsby, though, acknowledged that the board of directors was mindful that more revenue was available. Because of the conference's grant-of-rights deal with networks, the board was aware that the addition of a title game would launch a clause within that broadcast deal that would bring more money to the league.

With broadcast money and ticket sales, the title game is expected to bring in nearly $30 million in revenue to the conference annually, according to at least one report.

That revenue would go a long way toward upping the annual distribution to each school. Those annual payouts increased this past year by nearly 15 percent, Bowlsby said Monday.

The title game should increase that again next year.

But Bowlsby said the decision to reinstate the title game was about providing the playoff selection committee a 13th data point. With every other Power 5 conference playing a title game, those participating teams are playing 13 games. Without a title game, Big 12 teams were evaluated the past three seasons on only 12 games.

Many believe that lack of a 13th game kept Baylor or TCU out of the playoff in 2014 and might have hurt Okahoma's chances last season.

"I think we have been responsive to what we heard from the CFP," Bowlsby said.

Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›