The Longhorn Network has yet to broadcast one second of programming, but it continues to create controversy. The latest scuttlebutt involves its hopes of broadcasting high school football games. According to the head of the network, it wants to broadcast a dozen and a half high school games this season. Most would be in-state games, but some might be out-of-state contests. Many of the high school games might include players who’ve committed to Texas or players who’re being recruited by the Longhorns but are yet uncommitted. Yes, those are alarm bells coming from Norman, Stillwater, College Station and every other college town that likes to see a Texas high school football player or 20 on their football team. The burnt-orange, Longhorn-emblazoned channel broadcasting high school games involving recruits being wooed by the Horns — sure sounds like an NCAA violation, doesn’t it? Word out of Austin is that the university and the NCAA are in the process of working out the kinks that would allow the broadcast of high school games. Kinks? These seem more like massive knots. How can a network branded by a university broadcast the games of high school recruits without committing some serious violations? How can it do that while other schools can’t even mention recruits’ names until they’re signed without committing a violation? How can that be allowable? If the NCAA signs off on it, it would be unconscionable. Amid all of the uncertainty, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe put the brakes on the entire idea Wednesday, the Dallas Morning News reported. He didn’t stop it entirely, but he slowed it down, putting it on hold pending decisions by the NCAA and the Big 12. I suspect network and school officials are looking for a loophole in the NCAA bylaws, and if I were them, I’d do the same thing. They’ve got this amazing tool in the Longhorn Network; might as well see what it can do within the rules. The biggest problem for them, though, is what the head of the network has already said. During a radio interview earlier this summer on ESPN’s Austin affiliate KZNX-FM, Dave Brown talked all about the Longhorn Network. The ESPN programming vice president who is in charge of the new burnt-orange offshoot addressed the issue of broadcasting high school games. “Certainly, we’re going to follow the great players in the state,” Brown said. “Obviously, a kid like Johnathan Gray from Aledo, I know people are going to want to see Johnathan Gray. I can’t wait to see Johnathan Gray.” The five-star running back committed to the Longhorns in April. “Feedback we got from our audience is they just want to see Johnathan Gray run whether it’s 45-0 or not,” Brown said. “They want to see more Johnathan Gray. So we’re going to do our best to accommodate them and follow the kids that are being recruited by a lot of Division I schools, certainly some of the kids Texas has recruited, is recruiting and everyone else in the Big 12 is recruiting.” Hold up — is recruiting? I mean, I was already suspicious of the Longhorn Network showing high school games involving committed but still unsigned recruits. They have yet to make their pledge official. They have yet to become Longhorns. Technically, they are still recruits. And we know that some of these guys who are committed have been known to change their minds before signing day. Seems like a game or two on the Longhorn Network might seal the deal. But the thing that it totally and completely out of whack is the all-burnt-orange-all-the-time channel targeting games of uncommitted recruits. Listen, I understand the appeal for the Longhorn Network — Texas fans want to see these guys play, and hey, how many times can you replay the Texas-Rice broadcast? — but it’s not fair for everyone else recruiting those players. University officials have said that they’ll have no say in what high school games are broadcast on the Longhorn Network. They have insisted that channel’s execs will determine the lineup. They have maintained that they are completely out of the equation. Even if that’s true, it doesn’t change the fact that Texas recruits are going to be playing on the Longhorn Network. It’s the ultimate recruiting tool because no other school has anything like it. These are high school games that would be produced and aired by the Longhorn Network, by the way, since the main body that governs high school sports in Texas already has a television deal with Fox Sports Net. That means the Longhorn Network would be dealing directly with high schools and prep teams. Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds told The Associated Press on Wednesday afternoon that the school was working with the NCAA to avoid any problems. Longhorn officials have been reaching out to their Big 12 brethren, too, in hopes of calming fears that the network will give the school an unfair advantage. Listen, I don’t think any amount of talking will calm those fears. Because of the exposure and the revenue that comes with it, the network is already an advantage to Texas. No denying that. But even if there are no NCAA rules specific to the broadcasting of high school games by a school’s network, this doesn’t pass the smell test. Unless it’s the smell of a rat.