Realignment Notebook: David Boren says Texas TV network unfair

BY TRAVIS HANEY, Staff Writer, thaney@opubco.com Published: September 19, 2011
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Asked Monday about the Longhorn Network, Oklahoma president David Boren made it clear he still does not think Texas' own TV channel makes for fairness – in the Big 12 or any other league.

Boren made the comments following an OU Board of Regents meeting in which he was given authority to make a decision about whether to stay in the Big 12 or join an expanded Pac-12 that could include Texas.

“Whatever conference we join, or whatever conference we stay in – those are obviously the two major options – the University of Oklahoma has no ambition to dominate any conference,” Boren said after being asked about the network. “We simply have the ambition of being a member, an equal member, of any conference, playing by the same rules, by having a level playing field for all the members of that conference and developing a high level of trust in each other. That's our goal. That's what we're after.”

Boren again echoed concerns from Sooners coach Bob Stoops about a perceived recruiting advantage, if high school games or highlights are allowed to be shown on the Longhorn Network.

“You can play highlights and your highlights just might happen to focus on some of those players who were your top recruits,” he said. “Now, is that a level playing field on recruiting? I don't think so. We're for a level playing field. We want to see a conference in which all the members play an equal role.”

BOREN: LEGAL THREATS CREATE UNSTABLE BIG 12

Part of the board meeting's executive session focused on the possibility of litigation, should OU choose to move to the Pac-12.

Although Baylor was not mentioned by name, it made the most noise about potential legal action as Texas A&M neared an agreement to join the SEC. The tone of Baylor and a couple of other Big 12 schools has at least stalled the process, the SEC has said. That league does not want legal entanglements in adding a new member or members.

“I don't think you build trust and I don't think you build stability in a conference by the threat of litigation,” Boren said without mentioning BU and its president, Ken Starr. “If it takes the threat of litigation to keep a conference together, that's not the right way to proceed. Stability is based upon trust. It's also based on partnership.