On Thursday, the NCAA moved swiftly to end any talk of high school games on The Longhorn Network or conference networks but upon closer examination, the decision could have a bigger impact than once thought.
The Board of Directors, responsible for passing the interpretation on games, also appeared to close the door to another significant programming source: recruiting. Other programming featuring recruits, such as shows or highlights, look to be off the table for the networks.
The interpretation approved by the Board:
Broadcasts of Youth Programming on Institutional- or Conference-Branded Networks (I)The language obviously rules out high school games on for the Longhorn Network and others, such as those run by the Big Ten, Mountain West and, soon, by the Pac-12. By saying those networks can't air any "programming involving prospective student-athletes," any shows dedicated to recruiting appear to be off the table. This could include Signing Day coverage which would have been a stable of the February programming for all of the networks given the frenzy around that time of year.
The academic and membership affairs staff determined it is not permissible for an institution- or conference-branded network to broadcast (audio or video) programming involving prospective student-athletes. [References: NCAA Constitution 2.11 (the principle governing recruiting) and NCAA Bylaws 13.2.1 (general regulation), 184.108.40.206 (recruiting advertisements), 13.10.3 (radio/TV show), 220.127.116.11 (announcer for broadcast of prospective student-athlete’s athletics contest), 18.104.22.168 (game broadcast/telecast), 13.15.1 (prohibited expenses) and 22.214.171.124 (fundraising for high school athletics program)]
The interpretation should also extend to school-owned radio networks broadcasting high school games or airing shows dedicated to recruiting. The language of "branded network" could also mean that respective digital networks and websites are also limited in what they can show.
Of course, NCAA interpretations have caused confusion before, such as the one involving recruiting services such as Rivals or Scout. At the moment however, it appears the NCAA has plugged a bigger hole then intended. Is a YouTube video ok?