Tag:The Longhorn Network
Posted on: July 31, 2011 6:53 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 7:49 am
 

Texas A&M goes to NCAA on Longhorn Network

Texas A&M is urging the NCAA to use a 17-year-old rules interpretation that it believes would keep the Longhorn Network from airing high school games.

CBSSports.com obtained documents that show A&M wants TLN classified as an "institutional publication", per bylaw 11.2.3.4, which would make it an "athletics representative of the institution." The 1994 interpretation dealt most mostly with what was, at the time, an explosion among specialty print publications. Several newsletters, magazines and weeklies sprung up in the 1990s that covered individual schools' sports. Several of those publications reported recruiting news in varying degrees as part of their coverage.

They were, in essence, what could interpreted as print versions of what the TLN is attempting to become in 2011. A&M is asking that the NCAA apply that Nov. 1994 ruling -- regarding those print publications -- to video-based publications.

If not, the school said, "the NCAA, in allowing institutions to create video-based publication agreements without any restriction on content, is opening Pandora's box."

A&M even uses a quote Texas AD DeLoss Dodds to drive home its point about TLN being an "athletics representative."

“This is yet another step leading up to our launch which will offer viewers unprecedented access to our sports programs …” Dodds said in a January press release.

All of it means that Monday's Big 12 AD meetings in Dallas to discuss "institutional networks" could be the most significant for the conference in more than a year. During the 2010 spring meetings in Kansas City, the seeds were planted for Nebraska and Colorado to leave the conference. During those meetings, Texas reaffirmed its desire to start a network.

"Our goal is to keep this together," A&M AD Bill Byrne said. "I don't see anything contentious about it."

The league recently agreed to a lucrative 13-year, $1.2 billion deal with Fox for its secondary rights. It figures to score another windfall when its ABC/ESPN rights expire after 2015-16. But cracks already are beginning to appear nationally and in the Big 12. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott reiterated last week what he told CBSSports.com in May.

" ... It's my view there will be further expansion down the road," Scott said during the Pac-12 media days.

Texas A&M appears to have leverage with a potential move to the SEC. That could lead to a tsunami of conference realignment if other conferences are forced to react within the marketplace.

Texas has long been speculated to become an independent if it isn't happy with the Big 12. (Although it has never been addressed what would happen with Texas' highly-competitive minor sports.) The school came within a heartbeat of joining the Pac-10 in 2010. A portion of Texas' contract with ESPN states that if Texas is not a member of a conference, ESPN would have 60 days to make an exclusive deal for those TV rights. It would have 48 hours to match any competing offer. That information was reported by the Austin American-Statesman after a Freedom of Information request.

Given the potentially shaky Big 12 partnership, a school like Missouri suddenly would have multiple options in perhaps the SEC, Big Ten, Big East, even the Pac-12. There is every indication, though, that the current situation will be resolved. That still doesn't mean the Big 12 is a long-term proposition.

The growing controversy over broadcasting high school games seems to have only two resolutions. Either it will happen or it won't. Texas and ESPN officials have said they are fine if the NCAA restricts the airing of high school games. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has put a moratorium on the practice until the issue is resolved.

Also at issue is Texas' intention to broadcast a conference game on TLN. That raises issues as to whether a conference member would be helping promote the network by its participation.

What you don't hear at the moment is Texas and ESPN backing down on their own on the issue of high school games. Technology, at this point, is moving faster than the NCAA's ability to react to it. Texas' intent to show high school content via broadband distribution and a coming Longhorn application has Texas A&M and others concerned.

Adding to the confusion is that Texas, the Big 12, NCAA and ESPN are all in a symbiotic relationship. Texas is a member of the Big 12 which is a member of the NCAA. All three have financial relationships with media giant ESPN.

Texas and ESPN announced the 20-year, $300 million partnership in January.

The Longhorn Network is the first individual school-centric endeavor on a major network (ESPN). It is launching Aug. 26 but not before having somewhat of a national referendum on the future of such businesses -- and possibly the Big 12 itself.

After a much-hyped, regents meeting earlier this month Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said TLN's intentions create "uncertainty," in the Big 12. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said last week it is "common sense" that Texas not air high school games. While proclaiming solidarity among conference members, commissioner Dan Beebe said, "Any time there is any kind of perceived crack, there's going to be a lot of vultures in the air."

The issue has attracted the attention of the NCAA which has called an Aug. 22 in Indianapolis to discuss the issue. Among those invited include Texas, Notre Dame and the Pac-12. All three have networks or aspirations of forming one.

At issue is whether the ESPN/Texas partnership creates an unfair recruiting advantage. In early June, TLN chief Dave Brown specified in a radio interview that the network intended to show up to 18 high school games as well as travel to other states to show the games of players who had committed to Texas. That's where A&M, and others took notice.

Texas A&M is lobbying the NCAA hard to the point that ruling in favor of Texas "may cause more than simply discussion and consternation among the NCAA membership. It may lead to undesirable developments, a fear of creeping recruiting advantage that compels members to try to create situations for themselves similar to the Longhorn Network ...

" ... then the next step," A&M states to the NCAA, "could easily be an initiative to broadcast nonscholastic events during the otherwise slow collegiate sporting event summer period and it does not take much of an imagination to target men’s and women’s basketball summer tournaments/camps as being of interest to sports fans."

The NCAA already has its hands full with controlling the influence of those non-scholastic events. Basketball is rife with abuses. The association's enforcement department is working diligently trying to control non-scholastic third party influences in football.

College athletics is watching the TLN situation closely. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Thursday that the Big Ten Network is not interested in televising high school games at this time. That could change, he added, the NCAA allows it.

In that case, he said, "we'll probably have to take a look at it."

At the time the original legislation was passed in 1993, 24/7 networks dedicated to one school didn't exist. Texas A&M argued to the NCAA that "the intent and spirit of the rule was that these type of outside/independent entities ... have greater flexibility in conversations with high school-aged individuals ..."

Dodds said Texas would be not involved in selecting high school games to be broadcast.

"We'll just have to let the process work itself out," ESPN's Brown said last week. "We would have liked to have done them [high school games], one game a week, two games a week. If we have to go in another direction we will."

Coach Mack Brown said last week that high school coaches and players would be hurt most through lack of exposure if their games weren't broadcast.
Posted on: July 22, 2011 11:12 am
 

Longhorn Network resolution could last to August

A decision on The Longhorn Network's now-controversial programming plan is likely to last into August, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe told CBSSports.com.

Texas A&M, among others, is concerned about TLN's televising high school games and one conference game this season. Beebe released a statement Thursday saying those plans for the network are on hold until a resolution can be reached.

"We need to construct scenarios where everybody benefits," Beebe said.

All parties are essentially waiting for the NCAA rule on the "legality" of TLN to be able televise those high school games. That would seemingly violate NCAA Bylaw 13.10.3 that prohibits a recruit from appearing on "a program" in which a member institution is "instrumental in arranging for the appearance" for the recruit.

The wording, as usual in the NCAA Manual, is complicated and probably has a lot to do with the issue possibly extending into next month. You can read it here.

Texas likely would prefer that the NCAA become the bad guy in this situation. If the NCAA says no, Texas saves face by having to acquiesce to association rules. If the NCAA rules in favor of Texas, then the issue becomes stickier. A&M released a strongly-worded statement Thursday stating its displeasure with the situation.

There is also concern among conference teams playing Texas on TLN. They would essentially be driving ratings and cable subscriptions for a conference rival. Beebe said that one possible solution could be that the Texas opponent in that case could also show the game on its own "carriage system." (broadband, streaming, etc .)

The issue seemingly will not be resolved next week during the Big 12 media days in Dallas. Not all the athletic directors will be available.
Sources within the Big 12 and ESPN are confident the issue will be resolved without any damage to the current conference structure. Thirteen months after Nebraska and Colorado split off, the Big 12 is still dealing with questions about its stability.

In essence, the televising of high school games on TLN is not a deal breaker for ESPN or Texas. Texas AD DeLoss Dodds said he would be comfortable if the NCAA rules prep games cannot be televised.

A&M became further alarmed in early June when TLN chief Dave Brown detailed the high-school plan during an Austin, Texas radio interview.
Posted on: January 21, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2011 10:13 am
 

Dodd mail, 1/21/11

I put out an informal Twitter poll request this week: In light of The Longhorn Network announcement, what is the over/under on number of years the Big 12 will last in its current configuration.

Dan Beebe may want to avert his eyes. Fifty persons responded. The average life span from the respondents? 3.4 years

Here's a sampling of some of the replies ...

"3 seasons, breaks up in spring of 2014"

"A&M and Oklahoma will go to SEC and leave Texas high and dry"

"I second that--2 years. Everyone finally wants to admit Texas is out for themselves. A&M, OU next to leave following CU, NE"

"Give them 3 yrs. Others will tire of the pro-Texas deals and agitate for more. Horns then leave"


I was surprised too. I don't know if one has to do with the other -- TLN and Big 12 Conference stability. In fact, the reason Texas stayed in the Big 12 last year was because it wanted to pursue its own network. Without Nebraska and Colorado, the Big 12 is leaner in football and flat-out a monster in basketball. We haven't even gotten to the Big 12's new TV deal which -- to quote Texas AD DeLoss Dodds -- is going to be worth SEC money" -- $17 million-$20 million per school per year.

I'm not into Big 12 bashing. Any league with Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Missouri (three 10 win seasons in the last four years) is formidable. It's going to be easier for the league to get two teams to the BCS each season without a championship game.

3.4 years? And some of us thought conference realignment had calmed down for a while. If an informal Twitter poll means anything, the upheaval has just begun.

This week's letters from the edge ...


From:
Wickedgrin1

I hope 2011 is better. 2010 left me feeling cheated by the NCAA, the SEC, the sports media herd, and Preacher Newton. I love the SEC and wanted to cheer for Auburn, but the smell was too great. And you in the media fed the momentum for that Newton thug, making this ripoff a fait accompli. I could not watch the biggest game of the year, and hung my head over the black eye to this greatest of all sports. With the possible nod to TCU, 2010 was the year without a national championship, and you in the media, the last line of defense, allowed it to be so.

Wicked:

What exactly did you want us to do? We reported the news to the best of our ability. We stayed on this Newton story so hard that the NCAA took the unusual step of dealing with player eligibility in the middle of an active investigation. What exactly did we miss?

We are, like you, still skeptical. We, like you, need closure from the 2010 season. We, like you, probably won't get it.


From: Richard

This is disturbing -- the new ESPN agreement with Texas. Notre Dame has had their own network for the past twenty years -- and, the last time I watched a Notre Dame football game -- including bowl games -- was the last year before their exclusive contract with NBC -- and, I am Catholic. Now Texas. This sets up a very disturbing and problematical hierarchy of the haves and have-nots and in the long run is not good for college football.

Since the NCAA has allowed Notre Dame to get away with this all these years without penalty or criticism -- they set themselves up for this eventual predicament. Once the genie is out of the bottle it is very difficult to put humpty-dumpty back together again. I don't know what the right answer is -- right now. But, I know this, these kind of arrangements would be considered unfair trade practices in the real-world and would be prohibited or highly discouraged.

Agitated:

Two words summed up your post -- "real world". There is no real world in college athletics. Notre Dame is private. Texas is public. One has to release balance sheet. The other doesn't. Both are among the richest schools in the country. And that's just a start. There are still 118 other schools with their own stories, desires and bank accounts.

We should have it figured out by now. Athletic departments are like board rooms -- selfish and worried about the bottom line. The "stock" in this case are young adults on scholarships on whose talents the schools' "stock" fluctuates.


From: Whatever

Brady White as the eighth-best hire [in Wednesday's story ranking the new hires 1-21] just because Miles and Harbaugh weren't hired?? Admittedly, Harbaugh would have been great for Michigan but the timing was wrong. It's hard to resist the NFL. But I definitely would rather have Hoke than Miles. There's something about the Miles situation that stinks... three years ago and now. In a few years, you will see that Hoke is a good short-term hire and probably the best long term coach for Michigan.

Whoever:

According to my research, you represent exactly 50 percent of the fans at Michigan right now. The other half wonder why the heck Dave Brandon couldn't do better.


From: Michael

There is no Louisiana-Lafayette. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette media guide has asked the media to call us UL, Louisiana or Ragin' Cajuns. The use of ULL or Louisiana-Lafayette is unexceptable.

Ragin' Politcally Incorrect:

It's also
unacceptable.

Serious tip: I have this rule that I've enforced for the 13 years I've been at CBSSports.com. This isn't some court room where you can change your last name when it suits you. You've got to earn it, over decades. Calling Ooo-La-La, Louisiana is arrogant and wrong. The same goes for Central Florida (not UCF) and South Florida (not USF). In other words, you're not a household name just because you say so.

All name changes should go through a panel made up of USC, UCLA, ACC and K-State officials.


From: Doug

Dennis--Maybe you or one of your colleagues has written about this already but I'd like to see something about the extremely poor example set the way Randy Edsall left UConn. Not telling his players, not taking a flight with the team after the bowl game. If he can't be man enough to tell his players he's leaving then I think he doesn't deserve to be coach in UConn, Maryland, anywhere. If I were a player I would not want to play for this clown. Fact is, Edsall is an average coach and recruiter, and he lucked out with the disaster of a league the Big East was this year.

Jilted:

I used to have a problem with this kind of conduct -- skating out of town without telling players. But what is this, a broken engagement or a new job? All Edsall owes his players is everything he gave them which is blood, sweat and tears for 12 years. He took a I-AA program and dragged it to the Fiesta Bowl. What else does he have to do at UConn?

He did make an honest attempt and spoke to a few key players by cell phone when they landed after the bowl game. He even apologized. I've got no problem with that. Edsall and Maryland kept this whole thing under wraps perhaps better than any of the other coaching searches this season. We didn't know Edsall was at Maryland -- until Edsall was at Maryland. Hurt feelings heal. Randy Edsall's only duty is to his family, his employer and his players. He has done all he could for all of them.


From: Bob

At this time, SEC has had a good run in football and the BCS, no doubt. However, when CBS & ESPN, ABC tells you that the SEC is great, I wonder. You guys are paying a lot of money to the SEC, you really can't say anything bad, and lose viewers. Sorta like patting your 8-year-old on the head telling everyone how great he is.

... or sorta like saying the sky is blue. We were merely stating the obvious, no matter how repetitive it might be. The SEC is fantastic until further notice. Nothing can change that no matter who runs the company.


From: John

I really don't get your sniping at the Legends and Leaders division names. Get a life. I think they are fine. Hopefully they will build into a tradition in time. I really don't get why you hate the Big Ten Conference so much. It sure does show.

Thank you, Mr. Delany. Your correspondence is appreciated.


From: Mike

I still wish that Butler had hit on that 3-point, 3-fourths of a court shot at the end of the NCAA Championship Game last year. That would have done more for parity, folklore, and equalizing all sports, big and small, at all levels of college sports. Duke would have deserved it, too!

Little Big Man:

Obviously you haven't been watching Boise State, TCU, Utah and Jacksonville State in football.


From: Steve

How does a national championship game that isn't even on network TV in prime time demonstrate that the whole BCS concept is a good idea? Give me back the days when all the games were on New Year's Day and the winner was crowned shortly thereafter.

Ding, ding, ding! We have found one of the two percent of people who don't have basic cable. What's it like watching Oprah all day?


From: Dan

I believe the TCU vs. Wisconsin game was a more of a comment on how weak the Big 10 conference is compared to other conferences. I admired TCU's win in the Rose Bowl but the problem with giving these small schools more BCS acknowledgment is their weak schedules, especially compared to the SEC, Big 12, etc. I know that TCU beat some good teams this year but it's the weekly grind of facing one big team after another each week that doesn't compare.

Mr. Gee:

Let's just make it the SEC vs. Big 12 every year and get over with, right?

TCU beat four teams with at least eight wins this season. Wisconsin beat three. TCU beat five bowl teams. Wisconsin beat four. TCU was one of two undefeated teams left in the country. Wisconsin was not. The Mountain West is considered just as good or better than the ACC and Big East and may have a BCS berth beginning in 2012.

Not exactly Little Sisters of the Poor, eh?

 

 

 
 
 
 
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