LAWTON — Oklahoma officials say they don't understand how a proposed Big 12 Network could work considering that Texas already has an independent channel and the Sooners are working on one of their own.
University president David Boren told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Oklahoma still plans to form its own network and that he was surprised the Big 12 went public with the consideration of a conference network. The same third-tier television rights control what would be aired on either a school's channel or a conference channel.
Oklahoma intends to keep those rights — just as Texas has in creating its Longhorn Network through a 20-year, $300 million deal with ESPN.
So how could the Big 12 form a network without its two most powerful programs?
“I don't know because I don't see quite how the conference network would work,” Boren told the AP. “I'm confused by that myself.”
Athletic director Joe Castiglione said he, too, was caught off-guard when the Big 12 announced Monday that there were discussions by the league's board of directors about creating a “conference dedicated TV network.”
“I really don't have the information to support why they made that statement,” Castiglione said, noting that athletic directors weren't part of the board meeting. “It has not been broached, or at least not recently.”
“Maybe they're trying to build a consensus or excitement and anticipation,” he added. “I don't know.”
If recent developments in the Big 12 have shown anything, it's that the conference — which has had its membership in flux for the past year and a half — still seems to be in a state of confusion.
“My understanding is that schools that have their own network, such as the Longhorn Network, that would continue to exist and that the other schools would just bundle their third-tier rights collectively and form their own channel representing multiple institutions,” league spokesman Bob Burda said.