No doubt upset, but undeterred, by the NCAA's ruling that the school and conference networks may not air high school sporting events, ESPN revealed on Thursday that it wishes to show high school football highlights on the Longhorn Network.
The announcement comes only days before the Monday summit the NCAA will hold to discuss the moratorium on showing high school sporting events and the issue of showing highlights will likely be a subject of conversation. A Big 12 official told the Houston Chronicle that it was an issue "not fully considered" by the league when it handed down its own moratorium only a matter of days before the NCAA made its own ruling, but believed highlights would not be permitted.
An ESPN spokesman disagreed:
In the context of news coverage, it’s obviously a completely separate matter, and we plan to report on high school athletics in a way that is relevant to our audience.
The rulings by both the NCAA and the league were blows to the proposed coverage by ESPN, which seemingly planned to make high school football broadcasts a centerpiece of the Longhorn Network. It now looks like ESPN isn't going to give up easily and will likely push for the ability to broadcast games during the summit, possibly casting highlights as a compromise if the NCAA does not agree to re-write the bylaws restricting game broadcasts.
Whatever the case, the Longhorn Network is in the news once again as ESPN forges ahead to get what it wants. And the summit Monday that will feature Texas and Longhorn Network representatives could be a crucial moment for the network's immediate programming future.