The spate of new television networks affiliated with different NCAA conferences knew that they wouldn't get a chance to broadcast high school games for at least a year. Now it appears that they may never get that chance.
According to a variety of sources, the NCAA officially ruled that networks affiliated with individual schools or individual conferences will not be allowed to broadcast any high school events. The decision was based on the logic that televising events on those networks would provide their affiliated colleges with an unbalanced recruiting advantage.
The NCAA's decision goes far beyond the temporary, one-year ban on televising high school events that was agreed upon by Big 12 athletic directors at a meeting at the start of August. And while the NCAA's ruling will also affect schools in the Pac-12 and Big 10, the clear catalyst behind the move was the Longhorn Network, which had announced plans to broadcast a slate of 18 high school football games earlier in the summer.
In the meantime, NCAA President Mark Emmert told the Austin American-Statesman that a long-planned summit on university and conference-affiliated television networks would go forward as planned, even with the issue of high school broadcasts now settled.
"What we really need to do is get a better sense of the lay of the land," said Emmert, adding that the summit "is really just an educational meeting to provide education for our staff and to begin to get our arms around this issue and understand it more thoroughly."
Meanwhile, officials for the Longhorn Network insisted on Thursday that the loss of potential high school programming would only affect its initial offerings slightly, though it will hardly ease the concerns that longtime Texas football coach Mack Brown said he harbors about how the network will affect the football program it will focus on.
"I've got to make sure it doesn't change the responsibilities I have in this program," Brown told the AP. "But I'm going to be doing more things than I've done."