It started as a NCAA snag and quickly developed into threats of conference shifting that — at least regionally — resembled the realignment apocalypse that never quite happened last summer.
All because Texas, the most profitable program in the country with the deepest recruiting ties in one of the most talent-rich states, would somehow gain an astronomical recruiting advantage over other Big 12 programs.
And to think, it all pretty much began when Texas A&M decided to add a LHN agenda to their already scheduled Board of Regents meeting, which took place yesterday and continue today.
According to a source who spoke with the Houston Chronicle a few days ago, the agenda was supposed to be informational in nature and didn’t necessarily imply that the Aggies would bolt to the SEC.
Turns out, that might be more accurate than the last few days would have led us to believe.
A source “locked in at the highest level of Texas A&M” has told Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com that discussions of the Big 12, Texas and the Longhorn Network “[were] not as heated as you might think.”
Brown was told that A&M Regents are “not at the point of no return on this situation – not even close.”
Could they get there? Absolutely.
But it’s going to take a few things to fall into place.
Are the Aggies at least a little irked by Texas’ headstrong approach to broadcasting high school games? Oh, yeah. But this was a branch of the LHN that has been made public since at least January of this year. A&M, like all other Big 12 members, knew the LHN was a very real possibility when the conference decided to stick together last summer.
The key for the Big 12 to remain intact going forward will be to make sure that everybody is on the same page when it comes to the specifics of the LHN. Ironically, it was, in a way, the reason the Big 12 failed to dissolve last summer (that, and the promise of more money for everybody), yet might be the reason it could dissolve in the future.
If A&M and Oklahoma, the two teams who have the most realistic threat of moving on from the conference, aren’t kept in the loop at all times, their eyes could begin wandering again.
Strange, considering it is Texas‘ network; UT shouldn’t have to owe an explanation to anybody. But, if Texas wants to break the bank (which they do), they’ll want to keep raking in profits from two television networks.
That will require (more) communication.
All of this is assuming, of course, that the SEC actually wants Texas A&M. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive won’t confirm it, but he also won’t vehemently deny it. If I were UT, I’d be more concerned about keeping Oklahoma because A&M realistically isn’t going to the SEC unless they are part of a package deal.
But, ultimately, the “temporary end” to high school game broadcasts appears to be more due to NCAA problems than a conference one.
Normally, the NCAA can cause headaches for an institution with all of its restrictions. In this case, it might have actually saved Texas a trip to the convenience store for Tylenol.