Austin, Texas Texas officials talked with Big 12 athletic directors and presidents this week about the upcoming launch of the Longhorn Network in hopes of calming fears that it gives the Longhorns an unfair advantage over their rivals.
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Longhorns officials are aware of the concerns among Texas rivals that the 20-year, $300 million network deal struck with ESPN gives them a recruiting advantage and too much power over the rest of the league.
Dodds said he considered the conversations constructive and suggested the network would not put more pressure on a league that nearly broke apart last summer.
“I think the conference is in great shape,” Dodds said.
But the network has raised questions around the Big 12 over the idea of moving one of Texas’ conference games onto the subscription-based network and whether an idea to broadcast high school games will give the Longhorns an edge in college football’s intense recruiting battles.
Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe, who also was involved in the talks, was quoted in the Dallas Morning News as saying that telecasts of high school football games on the Longhorn Network are now on hold, pending decisions by the NCAA and the Big 12 about how to handle single-school and conference networks.
The Big 12 also delayed the possibility of a conference game on the Longhorn Network.
“It’s not going to happen until and unless the conference can make it happen with benefit to all and detriment to none,” Beebe said.
Texas A&M regents were expected to discuss the network in a closed-door meeting today.
The Longhorn Network is a pioneering project and the NCAA doesn’t have rules covering how it would select and broadcast high school games that could include Texas recruits, Dodds said.