I am an old fashioned sort of guy, I believe that while there may be some merit to the belief that fear of UH meeting its full potential may be a factor in P5 (particularly Big 12) not adding UH, the really important factor is money.How many $ will adding UH bring to the Big 12? How much extra are media players willing to pay the Big 12 to add UH?
The way I see it there are 4 possibilities for what media providers may pay for UH to be added.
Less than current per team payment. E.g. $30 million a year when the current per team payout is $40 million. The amount is irrelevant, what’s important is that in this scenario adding UH will dilute value for the current members assuming the conference sticks to equal revenue sharing.
More than current per team payout, but not enough to cover added travel costs. Adding new programs will also lead to added travel costs. This makes adding UH value diluting.
As much as current per team payout. Once again value diluting, as increased travel costs will higher lead to expenses for current programs and lower net income.
Enough to not only cover added travel costs, but leave a nice bit of change left over. Adding would make perfect sense.
Now 2,3 can be mitigated by creating geographic divisions. So while UT may have to travel to Houston every other year, it may not have to travel to Manhattan or Ames or Lawrence as often. Travel to Houston would clearly be cheaper than traveling to Kansas or Iowa.
The problem with this approach is that it’s not likely to appeal to Kansas, KU, ISU, WVU. UT and OU visiting football games are their top sellers. Current Big 12 scheduling guarantees that OU or UT visits them every year. With geographic divisions and 2 cross divisional games a year, guaranteeing UT or OU visits becomes impossible.
So when you look at from a purely financial perspective the deck is stacked not just against UH, but any other G5 program. The key is getting ESPN to up the payout sufficiently to make it worthwhile for a P5 conference to add UH.