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Longhorn Network causing a ruckus

Jenni Carlson: Showing high school football games on Texas' channel will cause all kinds of problems
by Jenni Carlson Published: July 20, 2011
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.

Tramel: Switzer talks Big 12/Fox alliance

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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