After being rebuffed by the NCAA in efforts to show live high school games on the Longhorn Network, ESPN honcho Burke Magnus now says the channel intends to broadcast highlights of prep games instead.
Like an annoying brat testing the limits with his parents – he’s either going to wear them down until he gets to stay up an extra hour, or he’ll get sent to bed at his usual time. Either way, he loses nothing.
Since the formation of the LHN, TexPN’s strategy has been to stake a dubious claim and force everyone else to stop them. In this case, both the NCAA and the conference said it couldn’t have full games, but apparently no one said anything about highlights. TexPN couldn’t get the mile it wanted, so now it’s just declaring ownership of a half-mile.
If TexPN is taking the LHN down this road with the blessing of its conference mates, then it deserves credit for working within the system to negotiate a compromise. On the other hand, steel-balled Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe is punting the issue to the NCAA, which suggests that this is more of the same shoot-first-ask-questions-later mentality that has characterized the entire endeavor.
The funny part in all of this is that this controversial high school coverage, in whatever form it takes, is complete chickenshit. In and of itself, it means nothing. Yet, as it relates to its pet project, it’s the ultimate sign that TexPN has no interest in bothering to get any buy-in from the rest of the conference on anything.
There’s probably room for compromise on both sides, especially with Texas A&M apparently headed out of town. But, instead, DeLoss Dodds contends that everyone else should just get over it.
If they haven’t figured it out yet, it’s becoming increasingly clear that schools in the Big 12 have to accept that so long as the conference exists, they will be battling to hash out the parameters of a “university-branded” television network. And TexPN will be setting the agenda. Worst of all, threatening the conference’s existence looks like the only “negotiating” tactic that works.
It’s tiresome and it won’t stop.
The league actually can work this way. Eventually, though, everyone not wearing burnt orange will have to decide if it’s worth it.