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Texas network riles Big 12 rivals

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Associated Press


All the eyes are still on Texas in the slimmed-down Big 12 Conference, though for some different reasons this time.

The Longhorns are coming off their first losing season in 13 years under coach Mack Brown, who has new offensive and defensive coordinators and is still unsure who his quarterback will be.

What is also being watched by other Big 12 teams is how much extra exposure, and potential advantage, Texas will have when its own 24-hour cable network debuts next month.

“I’m sure people will watch that,” Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said Monday. “We’ll have half a million Aggies watching it and we’ll have the Big 12 watching it, and the advantage and disadvantage thereof.”

Sherman was the first coach at the podium for Big 12 media days — half of the 10 teams appeared Monday; preseason league favorite Oklahoma is among the five teams on today’s schedule. The first question Sherman was asked was about the possible impact of the Longhorn Network on high school and college recruiting.

“Truthfully, I’m just focusing on what I’ve got to do and with my job, and let’s win our first game,” he said. “I’m sure you all can sort that one out yourselves.”

Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne, who has long had concerns about the Longhorn Network, said Monday that athletic directors and Big 12 staff will be meeting “within the next few weeks.”

When there reports last week that Texas might show one of its conference games as well as football games on its subscription-based network, Byrne issued a statement that “our concerns were heightened further” and that questions remained even after Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said that there would be no high school content on the network until conference members have a chance to consider all the issues.

Byrne, just back from an Alaska vacation, said he had been advised that he “should play nice and not say any more.” He said would do that — for now.