The Big 12 athletic directors met Monday in Dallas to discuss "content distributed on existing and future institutional and conference media platforms." In other words, the previously scheduled meeting focused on whether or not the Longhorn Network will be able to broadcast high school football games and a Big 12 conference game to be determined.
Though both subjects would have been high on the list of issues to discuss anyway, the recent outcry over the Longhorn Network in general and over the channel's ability to show high school football games in particular made it an absolute priority, particularly after the hue and cry coming from College Station.
Even though the Longhorns and ESPN were still waiting on a ruling from the NCAA about showing those high school games, Deloss Dodds gave ground and the athletic directors unanimously agreed to place a one-year moratorium on showing any high school football. For the future, the ability of the Longhorn Network, Big 10 Network, Pac-12 Network, and any other networks launched by institutions or conferences will depend on whether or not the NCAA decides to allow such broadcasts. Rest assured that the topic will be up for discussion about next year following the NCAA's ruling.
Considering the proliferation of such networks and what will surely be a continued rise of high school football programming on ESPN and Fox Sports, the take here is that conference and institutional networks broadcasting high school football is inevitable.
It was also a move by Texas to help keep the conference together amid rumors that Texas A&M could attempt to switch to the SEC. For those who continue to believe that the Longhorns bully the rest of the teams in the league, Deloss Dodds acted in the best interest of the league's future today while the Aggies seriously threatened to end the viability of the conference and perhaps send the rest of college football spiraling into another realignment scenario. At what point will it be possible to drop the bully meme? Never?
The other topic on the table, and one that caused consternation equal to the Longhorn Network possibly televising high school games was the move by ESPN and ABC give up a Tier 1 conference game and move it to the fledgling network. In a concession at least somewhat in favor of the Longhorns, the athletic directors agreed that the network can televise such games, but only with the consent of other institution and the league office. The Longhorns would also have to provide financial compensation to the other school.
So for now, the Big 12 continues to hang on as a conference by the thinnest of threads.