Texas discusses Longhorn Network with Big 12 rivals

By JIM VERTUNO , AP Sports Writer Published: July 20, 2011
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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 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. Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe also was involved in the talks.

“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.

Texas A&M regents were expected to discuss the network in a closed door meeting on Thursday.

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.

Texas officials have asked the NCAA for guidelines, he said.

“We're in a bold new world,” Dodds said.



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