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Texas says it tried to partner with A&M

September 2, 2011

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— Texas A&M could have been a partner with Texas in a lucrative television network but wasn’t interested in joining the Longhorns when the idea was hatched, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said Thursday.

Dodds told the Associated Press he first met with Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne about the idea of an Aggies-Longhorns network about four years ago but Byrne didn’t seem interested. At the time, the Longhorns weren’t sure they could carry a network on their own.

Byrne tried to re-open discussions about a year ago, but by then it was too late, Dodds said.

Texas had decided it had the national brand, stature and skill to forge ahead alone.

“I said we were too far down the road,” Dodds said. “We had figured out how to do it by ourselves.”

The Longhorns signed a 20-year, $300 million deal with ESPN in January to create the Longhorn Network that launched last week. Byrne has said the Longhorn Network created uncertainty in the Big 12 and cited it in his Wednesday blog as a big reason why the Aggies will leave the Big 12 by July, presumably to join the Southeastern Conference.

Byrne wrote that he liked the original joint network idea but assured Texas A&M fans he did not pass up a $150 million deal for his school.

“Our fans should know me better than that,” Byrne wrote. “That never happened.”

Byrne’s blog posting did not say why the partnership never materialized.

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