As the coaches from five Big 12 schools answered questions on day one of Big 12 Media Days, there was one topic that none could avoid — the Longhorn Network. The unprecedented $300 million deal has fans and the media from College Station to Columbia up in arms. But what do the coaches think about the deal?
Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman was the first to encounter the inevitable questions. Recent stirrings about the airing of high school games on the Longhorn Network have some schools worried about an unfair advantage, but Sherman didn’t seem too bothered by it all.
“I’ve got enough on my own plate,” Sherman said. “I’m focused on my job, and winning that first ball game.”
Baylor head coach Art Briles faced the media next and, lo and behold, he too was asked if he thought the network would bring an unfair advantage to Austin.
“Not a bit,” Briles said. “They’re pretty hard to recruit against anyway.”
Briles went on to praise Texas head coach Mack Brown.
“Mack has been great, and that’s a fact,” he said. “In the recruiting world, facts are all that matter.”
Others, like Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, chose to sidestep the ethical question regarding the showing of high school games on a college sports network.
“I’ve got faith in our athletic director Mike Holder and [Big 12 Commissioner] Dan Beebe to sort things out,” Gundy said.
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel had a decidedly firm stance on the Longhorn Network, citing a “lack of common sense” for the network to even attempt to show high school games on air.
“Showing high school games, it’s absurd,” he said.
Last but not least, Mack Brown shared his thoughts on the network’s arrival. Brown mentioned that stations like ESPN currently air high school games, even including several teams from the state of Texas. While noting that players that play on a major channel like ESPN get noticed by bigger schools, Brown remained confident that airing high school games would have no ill effects in terms of ease of recruiting or otherwise.
“The communities in Texas and their athletes that would otherwise not get noticed or receive any recognition will become accessible through this new network,” Brown said.
He still acknowledged the outrage.
“If I didn’t have it, I’d be mad,” he said.