College Football: B.Y.U. and the Irony of the Longhorn Network

Travis Normand@travisnormandContributor IIIFebruary 5, 2012

Sorry BYU; there is only room in this conference for one school affiliated network.
Sorry BYU; there is only room in this conference for one school affiliated network.Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Think back to a few months ago to when the Big 12 Conference was rumored to be courting BYU. Many people were certain that BYU was going to be the newest addition to the embattled Big 12, but such a relationship never materialized.

We may never know all of the details as to why the two parties did not end up together, but a few of those reasons have surfaced. While the reasons themselves may be old in terms of news, I simply could not let them go without comment.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, having its own television network may have been a significant factor in keeping BYU out of the Big 12. While on some bizarre level this actually makes sense, I can't be the only person that sees the irony in this decision.

The Cougars also were said to want permission to show their football games not picked up by Big 12 television partners on their own television network, BYUtv, which is available in more than 60 million homes nationwide.

Notice I said irony and not hypocrisy. 

We just watched Texas A&M leave the Big 12 citing the Longhorn Network as one of its many reasons for heading to the SEC. As a result, many Longhorn fans cried foul and stated that the Aggies should just start their own network instead of leaving. 

While starting their own network may have been an option for the Aggies, joining the conference with an established network was not an option for BYU.

From a fairness standpoint, it’s understandable why a conference would not want to allow its member schools to broadcast games on their own network, but is this really about fairness? The current TV partners of the Big 12 are ABC/ESPN and Fox Sports Media Group.

I’m curious as to whether this would have even been an issue had BYU’s television network been a multi-million dollar partnership with ESPN. 


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