Ladies and gentlemen, the governor of Texas.
I wonder how the presidents of the conference’s schools in Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and West Virginia will take that considerate advice.
If you think that a lot of what drives the decision making behind college athletics boils down to a bunch of assholes who are into johnson-measuring contests, then I think you’ll agree that Houston would make an excellent candidate for Big 12 expansion.
“That’s kind of disappointing that Texas with their big budget fears the University of Houston,” Fertitta said. “For other schools in the Big 12 to keep them out because they’re scared of them, men need to be men.”
I’ve heard worse reasons.
Grab a plate and dig in, folks.
This is pretty damned cheeky, don’t you think?
Texas coach Charlie Strong has turned the phrase #Letsride into his social media clarion call. When the Longhorns land a new recruit, Strong tweets out the catchy phrase as something of a de facto press release.
Texas officials were surprised Monday after learning that a reporter who covers Longhorns recruiting had trademarked Strong’s phrase in March 2015 and recently started selling #Letsride T-shirts.
Jason Higdon, the lead recruiting analyst for Horns Digest, filed two federal trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last year to use the phrase on various sports apparel and wristbands.
Higdon, who actively talks to UT recruits and reports on whether they are leaning toward the Horns, recently began promoting a website selling Lets Ride Sports merchandise.
In a message board thread initiated Monday on Horns Digest, Higdon wrote, “I understand everyone has an opinion. I want to promote commitment back in team sports.
“Regardless the team, I am in talks with high school football programs in the southeast, little league baseball teams etc,” Higdon continued. “Doesn’t matter if its 13 year olds, 18 year olds or 25 year olds, and regardless of the team they all must have a certain level of commitment. The ‘LetsRide Initiative,’ which means commitment to yourself, to your teammates and your coaching staff is something I came up with. It just kind of evolved into what it is today.”
… Before Strong arrived in Austin prior to the 2014 season, #Letsride was not a part of the UT lexicon. According to the coach’s Twitter timeline, Strong first used the phrase on Feb. 22, 2014, after getting a commitment from Huntsville offensive lineman Buck Major.
That’s one heck of a coincidence. I guess this was, too.
On Monday morning, the site offered “Texas Orange” shirts featuring white and black lettering with the phrase #Letsride. After the Statesman began making inquiries, the website changed its language during the afternoon and was selling “Dark Orange” shirts.
I assume the school, which hasn’t commented, is either pissed off or kicking itself for not having thought of it first. Bet that won’t happen again.
If things are the way this report indicates,
Big 12 leaders have been in talks about essentially converting the Longhorn Network into the Big 12 Network, sources said. In return, Texas would still make more money from the network than any other school.
The Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference are the only the so-called Power 5 conferences that do not have their own TV networks.
It’s believed seven of the 10 schools favor expansion. But Big 12 bylaws call for a super majority vote of 75 percent (so at least eight schools) to make a major change. Texas is believed to be influencing Texas Tech’s and Texas Christian’s decisions to also be reluctant to expansion.
Texas Tech has long fallen in line with Texas. Both are public universities that have been in the same league together since 1956, when they were in the Southwest Conference. Texas and Texas Tech were founding members of the Big 12 in 1996.
TCU is believed to be following Texas’ lead because the conference’s power broker reportedly helped the Horned Frogs get into the Big 12 four years ago.
… Bob Bowlsby can’t make up enough data to jump start Big 12 expansion. And why would Texas cooperate, anyway?
Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls recently shared his thoughts:
I still see no willingness on Texas’ part to fold the Longhorn Network into a Big 12 network, even if the league gives the Longhorns an extra $15 million share to cover its LHN income, because, the Texas source said, “we would get the same money, but lose our branding and having our own channel? Not very compelling. If we get rid of LHN, it will be to change conferences, in my opinion.”
Branding is a sensitive topic in Austin. Just ask Steve Patterson.
Andy Staples has a good piece up about the upcoming media rights battles facing three of the P5 conferences, the Big Ten, the Big 12 and the ACC. Two of those fights (Big Ten and ACC) are likely to be of interest simply as gauges of where the broadcast market is heading from a value and delivery of content standpoint (“ESPN has reportedly lost seven million subscribers over the past two years. Assuming those people only had ESPN and none of the network’s other channels—most likely did, but let’s estimate conservatively—that’s seven million people who are no longer paying $6 a month for ESPN. That’s a loss of $42 million a month, or $504 million a year.”), but the Big 12’s contest is more existential than that.
That’s because of that conference’s 800-pound gorilla, the University of Texas. There is a growing number of Big 12 voices who call for the end of the Longhorn Network, Texas’ sweet $15-million/year deal, so that all the schools can join together and create a conference network. Never mind that the other Big 12 schools sold their third-tier rights just as the ‘Horns did. The real irony is that the Longhorn Network is what saved the Big 12 a few years ago in the first place.
For those who don’t remember, the Longhorn Network is one of the main reasons the Big 12 still exists. Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado were headed to the former Pac-10, but then the Longhorns pulled an 11th-hour okey-doke on commissioner Larry Scott when the schools out west wouldn’t agree to let Texas form its own television network. So, the Longhorns made nice with the rest of the Big 12 and got their network.
So now, to make this work you have to (1) convince Texas that it won’t lose a penny by terminating the LHN in exchange for a conference broadcast arrangement; (2) require every other conference member to terminate their third-tier media rights deals while making sure that Texas is at the front of the line being made whole from however the new revenue stream is recast; (3) probably add two schools into the mix, which means making sure the pie is enlarged enough that the existing members don’t miss a beat on the money flow; and (4) convincing Texas that ensuring the Big 12’s stability is in its best interests.
Does that sound to you like something Bob Bowlsby can pull off?
Dennis Dodd sounds the alarm for the Big 12.
The evidence is mounting. The signs are there for the Big 12. The conference has to do something to address its future.
While there remains a slow, deliberate pace among Big 12 members considering expansion and/or a conference championship game, the league’s clock is ticking.
It’s the economy, stupid.
Bowlsby summed it up this way when asked the financial gap between his league and the SEC, a number that currently stands at about $9 million per year in rights fee revenue.
“If we do nothing, 12 years from now, we’ll be $20 million per school behind the SEC and the Big Ten,” he said.
Sure, that sounds crass, but the bottom line is the bottom line.
Here’s the problem. Even if the conference could find a couple of attractive expansion partners – and as Donald Trump might put it, that assumption is huuuuge – it’s still saddled with Texas and The Longhorn Network.
If eventually there is a Big 12 Network, it’s clear Texas’ collective ego will have to be soothed. It sort of has look like was their idea to fold the struggling Longhorn Network into a conference-wide network.
LHN, to this point, has been a financial failure, losing a total of $48 million, according to the San Antonio Express-News. A source told CBS Sports that the network continues to lose single-digit millions.
But more to the point, Texas isn’t. It’s raking in $15 million a year for twenty years. What does Bob Bowlsby have to offer to make up for that, especially in the context of conference expansion, which means ultimately having to split the pie into more slices?
This is the best Dodd can come up with:
… A reasonable solution could be Texas being the centerpiece of a Big 12 Network.
“Texas is always going to dominate the content on the network,” an industry source said. “They’re good in baseball. They’re good in softball. They’re good in volleyball. They’re good in swimming. They’re going to have a lot more presence than other schools just because they’re better than other schools most of the time.”
See how the Texas ego begins to be soothed? We’re essentially talking LHN branded as the Big 12 Network.
A rebranding? Seriously, that does sound like something Bowlsby would come up with… and that Texas would pass on, after it caught its breath from laughing so hard at his proposal.