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Big 12 TV Networks Delay High School Sports Broadcasts

The Big 12's athletic directors have put a minimum one-year moratorium on using any university-branded media platform to broadcast any sort of high school athletic footage.

Only last week, I told you that the University of Texas had been causing a bit of an uproar over in the Big 12 conference with its newly formed 24/7 Longhorn Network.

See, originally, the plan was that the network would occasionally televise high school football games in addition to all kinds of University of Texas athletic programming. But, after the network's vice president of programming suggested to an Austin radio station in early June that it just may focus on players being recruited by Texas or the other Big 12 schools, alarm bells went off for Texas' rivals.

But at a meeting in Dallas on Monday, the conference's athletic directors quashed the idea—at least temporarily. The ADs also recommended that the NCAA board of directors place the one-year moratorium on the entire NCAA membership, to allow time to determine whether NCAA rules permit the broadcasting of high school footage.

"The ADs recognize that this issue is complex and involves a detailed analysis of the recruiting model in many areas, including existing NCAA legislation related to the publicity of prospective student-athletes and the rapidly evolving world of technology," the conference said in a press release. "This process will take an extended period of analysis."

Basically, the recruiting question boils down to: If a school (such as Texas) has a 24/7 TV network and can choose which high school games to feature, couldn't it just start featuring games of the school's most important recruits? And wouldn't those recruits then be drawn to Texas, because of the magnificent power of the Longhorn Network?

Thanks to the voting powers of the conference's ADs, Texas A&M and other Big 12 schools get to rest easy this year. The Longhorn Network will be a high-school-free zone, until further notice.

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