Big 12 coaches comment on Longhorn Network
By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams
CycloneFanatic.com’s coverage of the 2011 Big 12 football media days in Dallas is proudly brought to you by the Iowa Clinic’s Urology Department.
On Monday morning in Dallas, football took a backseat to talk of the brand new, ESPN run Longhorn Network that will launch in August.
Late last week, Texas A&M and Oklahoma expressed their concerns regarding its plans to cover high school football games this fall.
Texas head coach Mack Brown had a lot to say about the issue during his session with the media. Brown said that despite high school games being aired on the (Texas) Longhorn Network, the University of Texas will having nothing to do with it. The high school games would strictly be an ESPN venture.
“Those would be games that might be on ESPN anyway," Brown said. "We are going to sign 20 to 25 players per year, more 20 than 25. Those players will probably be committed to us before June in their junior year. I don’t think that part will have any affect on recruiting at all."
Still, some are concerned about this being a major compliance issue, giving Texas an unfair recruiting advantage. After all, these games would be on the Texas Longhorn Network. Brown stressed that the University of Texas would have no say in which schools would be shown on the network.
"ESPN does high school football games in the state of Texas anyway and my gosh, the Big 12 is full of Texas high school football players," Brown said. "So if you think about it, there will be a lot more prospects from the other teams in the Big 12 on the network than the ones from Texas.”
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel disagrees.
"It's a lack of common sense to think that a university network can have high school games on its network," Pinkel said.
Baylor's Art Briles took a refreshingly different approach to the network talk.
"They (Texas) are pretty hard to recruit against anyway," Briles said. "Back over the last 12 years, they've averaged 10 wins a year. That's a fact. When you get in the recruiting world, fact matters. If they can do that and there is a need for it and people are going to pay for it, then more power to them. Let them have it. I think that it helps the Big 12. If we have to recruit harder against Texas than we'll do a better job."
Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy admitted that his "antenna went up" when he initially heard about the network's plans to air high school games but at the end of the day, didn't seem too be worried about the issue.
"We have so many things to concern ourselves with," Gundy said. "What happens on that network, I don't have to worry about. I have faith in the athletic directors of this league and the Big 12 that they will make the right decision in that area."
Ironically enough, Texas A&M's Mike Sherman was first to take the stand on Monday morning. Those who were expecting fireworks from the fourth-year head coach of the Aggies instead got a box of watered down matches.
“I have enough on my plate getting my team ready to play,” Sherman said. “That’s not where my focus is. I’m sure that you all can sort that one out yourselves.”
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe will host a reception this evening where he is supposed to deliver a "state of the conference" address. More news should come from that. CycloneFanatic.com will bring you full coverage.