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Blog Entry

Texas A&M has "many questions" about UT network

Posted on: January 26, 2011 12:11 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The recently-unveiled "Longhorn Network" hasn't even started broadcasting yet, but it's already provided Texas with plenty of benefits: a contract with ESPN worth millions upon millions of dollars, a high level of "buzz" regarding what the finished product will look like (and what kind of benefits it might offer down the road), and -- unsurprisingly -- an awful lot of ticked-off Texas A&M Aggies down the road in College Station.

At least, we're assuming that's how most Aggies feel about their archrivals' latest venture, considering that Aggie athletic director Bill Byrne made clear yesterday that he is -- to put it politely -- not a fan. He's asked for the NCAA to have a look-see:
"I can't speak for the NCAA, but I would imagine the governing body will look into the use of a collegiate television network airing games of prospective student-athletes," Byrne said in a statement. "I understand networks such as FSN and ESPN airing high school sports, but whether or not employees under contract with a university that may have additional contact would seem to be an issue" ...

"There are many questions regarding this new contract that will be discussed at length here at Texas A&M and within the Big 12 Conference, as well as with our television partners."
An NCAA official contacted by CBS said that without the "particulars of the specific arrangement with the network," they could not determine whether high school games airing on the Longhorn Network would violate NCAA regulations or not.

But even aside from that issue, "many questions ... that will be discussed at length" is A.D.-speak for "dude, we are seriously not pleased with this." Byrne's not the first A&M-affiliated official to express his misgivings about the Longhorns striking up their own TV deal, either; a "prominent Aggie" who spoke with the Austin-American Statesman's Kirk Bohls last week suggested that A&M could try to arrange its "own deal" with the television powers-that-be, or even rally the league's other eight non-Texas schools into an "Everybody But the Longhorns Network."

However you slice it, the natural rivalry between the two schools appears to have grown into a legitimate administrative rift, and one that's showing no signs of closing any time soon. When the Pac-12 and (according to some) SEC came calling last summer, A&M nonetheless elected to follow their in-state brethren's lead and remain in the streamlined, wobbly-looking, title game-less, 'Horn-dominated Big 12 . If the Longhorn Network proves to be as beneficial to Texas's bottom line and on-field product as Byrne and the rest of A&M are clearly worried it will be, the Aggies may decide their best interests dictate a different course of action next time around.


Since: Dec 10, 2008
Posted on: January 26, 2011 1:57 pm

Texas A&M has "many questions" about UT network

I dont care either way, not a Texas or B12 fan however, looking on this looks like such a shot at the rest of the teams in the conference.  Not only did they all agree to taking WAY less money than Texas to stay in the Conference, but now they et left out in the cold on the TV network.  If I were the other schools in the B12, I woud realize that Texas treats everyone else in the conference like step sisters and weaklings.  No wonder Nebraska jumped off the S.S. Austin!!

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: January 26, 2011 1:44 pm

Texas A&M has "many questions" about UT network

I am still not sure why ESPN would pay $20 milllion a year for UT's network,

Maybe because UT has the largest revenue producing and overall most successful athletic program in the country. The global brand perhaps? Pretty simple business concepts.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: January 26, 2011 1:39 pm

Texas A&M has "many questions" about UT network

 At least for the next 20 years. So, all they have to do is not show high school football games. Problem solved.

Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: January 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Texas A&M has "many questions" about UT network

Is every university now going to have their own networks?  There can only be so many fans of the lower level sports out there.  I am still not sure why ESPN would pay $20 milllion a year for UT's network, but there are an awful lot of Texan's out there, so maybe they are bigger gymnastics fans than I would have thought.  Having said that, I think the end of the Big 12 is near.  Many of the schools already almost went to the Pac 10, and this will probably move some of those schools to one of their border conferences, be it the Pac 10, SEC, or Big 10.  I am not a fan of the 14 or 16 team conferences, but it sure looks like we are heading in that direction. 

Since: Jan 26, 2011
Posted on: January 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Bryne Schooled by Dodds

This is the same Bill Byrne that just after the announcement that the Big XII would live on as a ten team league in response to the agreement that Texas would be able to start a Longhorn Network said:  "If you think about it, a separate school network does not work unless it's public television and they need all kinds of institutional and federal funding. Last time I checked college athletic departments are not eligible."

Mark this down, ESPN will get all Big XII television contracts.  Desperate for funds A&M and the rest will have no other choice but take a huge payoff and in a few years you will see A&M vs Tech football game on the Longhorn Network! It's coming.

Since: Jan 26, 2011
Posted on: January 26, 2011 1:31 pm

Texas A&M has "many questions" about UT network

I'm sure glad Nebraska got out of the conference when they did, I'm sure Colorado feels the same. It won't be long until everyone esle in the Big XII will feel the same.

Since: Jul 20, 2008
Posted on: January 26, 2011 1:12 pm

Texas A&M has "many questions" about UT network

Now it truly is the BIG TEX CONFERENCE. But for how long?

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