The Big 12 Conference
Dedicated to achieving the highest goals in the integration of academic and athletic endeavors, Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech combined forces on February 25, 1994, and forged the Big 12 Conference, one of the most powerful alliances in NCAA Division I competition to date.
Steven J. Hatchell became the conference's first commissioner on March 26, 1995. Under his direction, the Big 12 took a bold step toward community service in May, 1996, by adopting Special Olympics as its primary philanthropy.
Another innovative venture of the Big 12 is the development of the Life Skills Program and Academic Services, which seeks to enhance the "total person" concept both on and off the field.
Exposure is key in any endeavor of this magnitude, and the Big 12 has one of the most comprehensive regional and national telecast agreements in the country.
ABC and Fox Sports Net combine to produce nearly 40 football games annually in syndicated, regional, national and prime time windows.
ESPN and ESPN Regional provide regional over-the-air syndication, national cable and national network coverage of up to 90 men's basketball games per season. All 11 games of the Big 12 Phillips 66 Men's Basketball Tournament are aired either regionally or nationally.
Big 12 television coverage doesn't stop with football and basketball. Fox Sports Net relies heavily on Big 12 supplied programming of regular-season volleyball, baseball and women's basketball, televising nearly 30 events per year.
Big 12 championships have a home at Fox Sports Net as well. No fewer than eight Big 12 championships are televised on either a regional or national cable basis and Fox Sports Net boasts one of the finest weekly collegiate programs in the 39-installment "Big 12 Showcase."
Last year, the 21 regular season championship trophies were divided among seven schools, with Texas taking a league-best seven (football, men's outdoor track, men's swimming and diving, men's tennis, women's golf, women's outdoor track and women's tennis). Nebraska came in a close second, winning six trophies (gymnastics, men's indoor track, soccer, women's indoor track, women's swimming and diving and volleyball), while Colorado (men's cross country and women's cross country), Kansas (men's basketball and women's basketball) and Oklahoma State (men's golf and wrestling) finished up the inaugural Big 12 season with two trophies each. Oklahoma (softball) and Texas Tech (baseball) picked up the other two titles.