In a meeting with a select group of reporters on Wednesday, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds held forth on a variety of topics only hours after the Big 12 managed to avoid dissolution for the second year in a row, including the Longhorn Network, revenue sharing in a league held together by duct tape and elbow grease, and the possible continuation of the historic Texas-Texas A&M rivalry.
Of greatest concern to most Texas fans is whether or not the Longhorns will continue to play the Aggies on Thanksgiving if/when A&M makes the move to the SEC conference. Though the league will likely make last-ditch efforts to keep A&M in the Big 12, Dodds sounded resigned to the possibility of losing the Aggies:
In my mind, they’re in the SEC (already). People feel OK with that. A lot of people wish they were still here, but they’ve moved on.
The comment grabbing the most headlines around the country concerned the continuation of the rivalry:
I think it will be hard to schedule that game.
When news of the Aggies potentially leaving the conference first broke, there were rumors of the SEC allowing A&M to keep that Thanksgiving date open to continue playing Texas. In the end, this is more about Dodds making it extremely clear to the Aggies that if A&M wants to get away from Texas so badly, there will likely be consequences. Threatening the existence of a league that, despite some considerable problems, still makes the most sense for each member institution doesn't come without costs and it looks like at least the short-term existence of the rivalry is in jeopardy as a result. This is the consequence of pledging solidarity and then trying to leave a year later.
Dodds also pointed out that the athletic directors approved equal revenue sharing for the conference's Tier 1 and Tier 2 rights last spring, but the presidents never took action. Expect that to happen soon. Regarding the Longhorn Network, Dodds still sounded willing to make some compromises, which may have to include promises not to televise high school games or highlights.
The best comment of the day from Dodds could rival his famous "We are the Joneses" brilliance:
We are who we are. People say what they say. The outcome is the outcome. We're proud of ourselves.
Haters gonna hate, but excuse us, we have to get back to counting our money.