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Blog Entry

Big 12 in uproar over Longhorn Network

Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:26 pm
 
At one point Thursday afternoon, I Tweeted "Big 12 making WAC look stable."

One Big 12 loyalist immediately shot back: "u know something we don't?"

Apparently. Start with the new, 13-month old league looking a lot like the 15-year old previous version of the Big 12 that almost disintegrated last year. It looks just as shaky and twice as disparate. Texas is starting a network on its terms. Everyone else in the Big 12 is having problems with those terms. They include televising high school games and as well as one conference game.

Several issues: Texas A&M, among others, isn't happy with Texas essentially having its own televised recruiting service. That, and conference rivals helping drive ratings and subscribers by playing Texas on its own network.

Commissioner Dan Beebe seemingly had calmed the waters by issuing a Thursday statement saying the issue needed "clarification" and that the league would "manage the interplay". Beebe concluded by saying the pause button had been it on TLN. It could show no more than one game (the opener against Rice) and no high school games until things were sorted out.

I thought these types of conflicts would be avoided for at least a few years. But who knew Texas and ESPN would launch a network without getting these issues resolved with the rest of the Big 12? Or maybe it doesn't matter. It's the other members -- particularly Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State -- who are just happy to be in a BCS conference at this point.

As one executive intimated to me this week: These schools DO understand why the conference stayed together, right?

Answer: Texas.

That kind of gives you a picture of where things stand at the moment. Texas has all the power, as usual. And most of the rest have to take it except for Texas A&M, and perhaps Oklahoma. A&M made it clear to me Wednesday that the administration is upset with comments made by TLN network chief Dave Brown, a long-time power broker in college football for ESPN. 

A&M and OU have some leverage, which translates into jumping to the SEC if pushed too far on this issue. Read this scathing statement from Aggies' AD Bill Byrne.

“I have continued to have concerns about the Longhorn Network since the original announcement by ESPN and Texas. Since last summer, the Big 12 member institutions have committed to work together in a spirit of unity and equality. Recent news reports concerning this network; however, have created a considerable amount of uncertainty.

We had an agreement in place that Big 12 members would have the right to one non-conference football game and four to six basketball games for third tier, or institutional rights. The concept of the Longhorn Network broadcasting two live football games -- with one of these being a conference game -- had not been discussed among the Big 12 athletic directors.

Our concerns were heightened further when news reports surfaced that the Longhorn Network would be broadcasting high school football games featuring Texas high school recruits, including recruits living outside the state of Texas. Knowing how restrictive NCAA rules are regarding any collegiate representative contacting prospects, we contacted the NCAA for an interpretation. We are still waiting for the NCAA's response.

I have continued to communicate our concerns to the conference office and my fellow athletic directors. We are pleased that the Commissioner has started to address these concerns, but many questions remain. These are significant issues for all of collegiate athletics as they relate to broadcast rights, revenue distribution and the recruitment of student-athletes.”


There it is. A&M ain't standing for it and -- best guess -- the SEC would take an Aggie-Sooner package in a heartbeat. That would likely set off a chain reaction of new conference realignment that could lead to the era of super conferences.

What's likely to happen? ESPN isn't going to risk the disintegration of the Big 12 (a partner) to show high school games on TLN (a different, new partner). ESPN made a financial commitment to the Big 12 last year to keep Texas in the fold, if for no other reason than the Horns having a launching pad for that network. Essentially, we're talking about Big 12 game inventory (a lot) being worth more than TLN's (a little) to ESPN.

If the NCAA doesn't rule that the high school games are an unfair recruiting advantage, Texas/ESPN will simply back down and not show them. It's worth it to keep everyone happy. Sources here at the SEC media days told me that the high school programming isn't a huge deal. It would be nice to have on the TLN but its absence is not going to wreck it.

Guess that means more re-runs of the Mack Brown Show. I'm sure A&M will be happy with that.
Comments

Since: Oct 31, 2006
Posted on: July 26, 2011 12:01 pm
 

Big 12 in uproar over Longhorn Network

Within 5 years, OU and Texas A&M will be playing in a conference that UT is not in. I'm an outside observer and have no dog in the fight, but OU and Texas A& M will be brought into the SEC along with FSU and Miami. UT may think they are going to the PAC 10-12, but not until they lose their network or it becomes so watered down people wonder what's the point. If they don't move then the Big 12- will automatically lose it's BCS birth. Trust me, the Justice Department will make sure of that. If you don't believe that the way the BCS is set up is against anti trust now, it will become very evident after these events and their hand will be forced by a much weaker conference (Overall). Maybe the best thing that could come out of this will be a national playoff that will eventually lead to more balanced and smaller conferences in the long term, kinda ala 1960-70's... Only certainty is that it will be interesting to watch how it unfolds.




Since: Apr 29, 2009
Posted on: July 25, 2011 11:19 am
 

Big 12 in uproar over Longhorn Network

Big XII is dead thanks to Texas.  The best Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State can hope for is Conference USA. 



Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: July 24, 2011 9:08 pm
 

Big 12 in uproar over Longhorn Network

wow,why can't ou win more ,how many times has ou choked,



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: July 22, 2011 11:29 pm
 

Big 12 in uproar over Longhorn Network

There is no BCS in the rest of the sports Skyhawk, or did Memphis sneak into the SEC the year they went to the National Championship game in basketball to get points with the voters?

The Big East had no problem taking Notre Dame. I doubt they would suddenly kick ND out of the conference if the Irish joined the Big Ten for football either.

So once again, it won't hurt Texas one bit if they were to leave the Big 12. Not saying it will happen, not saying they'd for sure go indepedent in football, but you act like they'd turn into ECU or some other mediocre team in football and other sports if they did.
Not in football, but in the other sports, they probably would unless they swallow their pride and put their other sports in C-USA, which I don't believe Texas would do. What I'm saying is that if Texas goes independent in football, they would have to put their other sports into a lesser conference to keep them from turning into worse than East Carolina.

If they're willing to play basketball in Conference USA, then yes, Texas' non-football sports will be okay. But I think Texas has too much pride to call schools like Tulsa, Marshall and Southern Mississippi its league rivals. That's why I think Texas needs the Big 12 to stay together. Texas football will be fine no matter where it is, but Texas' other sports can't go independent and can't go to any other power conference. If Texas wants to play basketball in a power conference, it has to keep the Big 12 together. Unless the Longhorns are more humble than I think and will actually consider Central Florida an equal, Texas going independent in football will be the death of Texas basketball, volleyball, etc.

For the record, if Notre Dame ever joined the Big Ten, its other sports would immediately be out of the Big East and into the Big Ten. There is zero chance that the Big Ten would take the Irish for football only. Like the other BCS conferences other than the Big East, the Big Ten only takes full members. Plus, there is no way the Irish would join a football conference and leave its other sports in another league. If Notre Dame joins a football conference, every other sport Notre Dame plays is joining that conference too.



Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: July 22, 2011 8:25 pm
 

Big 12 in uproar over Longhorn Network

There is no BCS in the rest of the sports Skyhawk, or did Memphis sneak into the SEC the year they went to the National Championship game in basketball to get points with the voters?

The Big East had no problem taking Notre Dame. I doubt they would suddenly kick ND out of the conference if the Irish joined the Big Ten for football either.

So once again, it won't hurt Texas one bit if they were to leave the Big 12. Not saying it will happen, not saying they'd for sure go indepedent in football, but you act like they'd turn into ECU or some other mediocre team in football and other sports if they did. They'd get the same special treatment as ND in the polls because it is Texas. And even if they didn't, if they were to make it up in the BCS rankings, it would take a moron to go "No... I don't want Texas in my BCS bowl because they are an independent."



Since: Oct 15, 2006
Posted on: July 22, 2011 6:16 pm
 

Big 12 in uproar over Longhorn Network

Major conferences don't mean anything outside of the football cartel. Texas can just as easily win the National Championship in any sport in any conference. The only requisite is being good and running good during the playoffs. Again, unlike football.

Texas fans don't care who they're playing. We'll be there. We will still aggressively schedule in basketball and baseball as we always have. The conference competition will change, but that hasn't stopped schools like Butler from being successful in the postseason.

If Texas goes independent and causes a shift in the college football world that eventually leads to a playoff, every college football fan on the world should thank them. Again, all this speculation is a bit premature. I don't think the Big XII is going away. Texas A&M and Oklahoma agreed to the terms of Texas staying in the Big XII. Nebraska and Colorado chose a different path. That was their prerogative. I have no ill feelings towards them unless one of their fans pops off.



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: July 22, 2011 5:51 pm
 

Big 12 in uproar over Longhorn Network

It really doesn't matter what conference Texas' non-football programs joins because, unlike the Blatantly Corrupt System, those sports are decided on the court, diamond, aquatic center, golf course, etc. Texas will continue to be a force in all their programs. If one of the "major" conferences doesn't want them, that's their loss. Texas is Texas and will continue to be Texas.
Not if the Longhorns can't find a conference for those other sports. They won't be able to join the ACC, SEC, Big Ten or Pac-12, because those leagues won't have any interest in a Texas without football. Now, if Texas wants to play football in one of those leagues, I'm sure all of them would be happy to have the Longhorns. But if the deal is to take Texas in everything but football, all four leagues will balk.

Major conference-wise, that leaves the Big East. I doubt they want to go to 18 teams, and if they do, I'd think they want a member who will play Big East football. Texas won't play Big East football ever. So Texas' sports will not be part of a major conference if the Longhorns leave the Big 12. I can't really see that going over well with Longhorns fans. I know football is king, but Texas has basketball fans too, and I don't think those fans will like being conference rivals with Tulsa.



Since: Oct 15, 2006
Posted on: July 22, 2011 4:48 pm
 

Big 12 in uproar over Longhorn Network

It really doesn't matter what conference Texas' non-football programs joins because, unlike the Blatantly Corrupt System, those sports are decided on the court, diamond, aquatic center, golf course, etc. Texas will continue to be a force in all their programs. If one of the "major" conferences doesn't want them, that's their loss.

Texas is Texas and will continue to be Texas. All of this hate is because Texas is the first to have their own network. If the NCAA thought it gave them an unfair advantage in recruiting, etc. they would've killed the deal. When Oklahoma unveils their new network, will any bitch? No, because its been done. It will be old news.

What ESPN elects to show on the network is on them. The program director doesn't work for Texas. He works for ESPN. Can't really blame Texas when ESPN shows high school games. They have for years.




Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: July 22, 2011 4:11 pm
 

Big 12 in uproar over Longhorn Network

He ignores the fact that every other football indepedent does not remain independent in other sports.
I actually addressed that fact and why it does not work for Texas. Just because you have a personal vendetta against me for dissing your beloved Alex Anthopoulos doesn't make me wrong.



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: July 22, 2011 4:10 pm
 

Big 12 in uproar over Longhorn Network

Actually, there is no shortage of conferences that would kill to have Texas basketball and baseball and volleyball and golf and swimming/diving...I can go on, but what's the point. Texas is ridiculously strong in damn near every collegiate sport and conferences would be lining up to bring them in. Where there's money, there's interest. Texas brings money.

Texas doesn't need anyone. Those schools needed Texas and they showed it by begging them not to leave. They agreed to allow Texas to foster a relationship with ESPN, now they're crying because they are starting to realize the ramifications. Without Texas, the Big XII doesn't get the huge TV deal they just got and the even larger TV deal they'll get in a few years. If Choklahoma and A&M want to bolt for the SEC, have at it. Texas is going to be fine regardless. Money talks and bullshit walks. Walk Choklahoma and A&M, I dare you...
OK, why don't you name a few? What conference is going to take Texas in a deal where they don't get Texas football? I don't see one, unless you think Texas is really going to have its non-football sports playing in Conference USA or some other second-tier league.

Go ahead, you say I'm "talking out of my ass", so why don't you prove me wrong here? What conference that Texas would be interested in joining is going to agree to let the Longhorns be independent in football?


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