Putting high school sports video from throughout Texas on the schedule seemed like a good way for ESPN and the University of Texas to fill out their new Longhorn Network on cable. But that’s now been dropped to appease the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference.
Airing high school games on a single-college sports network was deemed to run afoul of NCAA recruiting rules. Coaches and players who got air time on the Longhorn Network might be unduly influenced toward favoring UT as the place to sign top high school athletes, according to the interpretation of NCAA rules by the board of the Big 12.
The ban on high school play-by-play was included in a deal on TV rights for the Big 12 schools, with UT and Oklahoma as the schools proposing the resolution. While high school games and video highlights are banned on individual school networks (who else will follow UT in creating one?) the resolution spells out that it is OK to broadcast scores, standings and statistics of high school sports.
RBR-TVBR observation: High school sports are proving to be a good programming source for DTV multicast channels of broadcast TV stations. It is pretty obvious why ESPN/UT thought it was a good idea for their network as well. But since they’re out, it just makes it a better opportunity for broadcast TV stations in Texas.