In case you missed the recent happenings at Big 12 meetings in Irving, don't feel too bad.

Just two news organizations covered the final day, down from a high of three earlier in the week. So much for the overkill media coverage of the last decade - where dozens of reporters covered the expansion sweepstakes and even more once threatened to crush former Commissioner Dan Beebe against a bank of elevators in Kansas City.

The media spotlight has seldom been friendly to the Big 12.

So what's changed from the dysfunctional conference that always seemed way too close to the self-destruct button?

The Big 12 aired its differences.

The public posturing and talk of - all together now - being "psychologically disadvantaged" may have actually done some good.

No really. While former Oklahoma President David Boren said a lot of things that put the Big 12 on edge, the aftermath might have been beneficial.

If nothing else, the Big 12 was forced to evaluate every issue instead of basking in prosperity or simply kicking the can down the road.

At times, it was embarrassing. At times, the Big 12 seemed like a powder keg.

"I think it's evolved," Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. "People never disliked each other. They just had honest disagreements as to how things ought to fit together. We had a lot of challenging issues.

"We've resolved many of those issues. As a result, we're enjoying a period of prosperity."

The result was a decision to remain at 10 teams, apparently at least through the current TV agreements in 2025. A deal with ESPN+ provides a workaround conference network with Texas and its Longhorn Network.

And the return of a football championship game has worked with Oklahoma advancing to the College Football Playoff each of the last two years. Moreover, the Big 12 went outside the box to guarantee a matchup of its top two teams, something that has gotten the attention of other conferences.

"Four or five years ago, people were sort of always questioning the survival of the conference because it was in some ways a shotgun wedding, a variety of other things," said West Virginia President Gordon Gee, the outgoing chairman of the board of directors.

"I think when we went through the process of determining whether or not we were going to stay the course, or add teams, when we made that final determination, that solidified things."

The job of university president has become more and more transient - as reflected in the Big 12 board of directors.

If you remember the near breakup of the Big 12 in 2010, just Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis remains from this group. And only Hargis and TCU Chancellor Victor Borschini are the only holdovers from the hiring of Bowlsby in 2012.

It's nearly impossible to hold grudges when no one has a history with each other. Gee described comradery and a sense of working together among the current board.

"I think here we really feel like we're playing team ball," Gee said. "I think that has been very good. That has changed some over the last several years.

"We would be remiss if we didn't say that there were sharp words or conversations. But I think those conversations have resulted in a much stronger approach and a commonality to where we are."

One very tangible benefit of the Big 12 being the smallest power conference is that the shares are bigger when split just 10 ways instead of 12 or 14.

This fiscal year, the Big 12 announced that it will distribute $38.8 million. Unlike other power conference numbers, this doesn't include third-tier rights, which can be a million or two for some schools and lucrative for others (Oklahoma, West Virginia) up to Texas' mammoth Longhorn Network deal with ESPN.

While the other power conferences haven't released their numbers, it's a safe bet that the Big 12 will remain third. The Big Ten and SEC earn vast sums by virtue of their geography and media markets and network deals. But the Big 12 is solidly ahead of the ACC and Pac-12. It's a very livable neighborhood.

"Money solves a lot of woes. It also is a sign of success. It is not everything," Gee said. "But we are being very successful, and I think that is important to where we are.

"That does give us a sense of solidity, purpose, momentum."

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