There won't be any high school games on the Longhorn Network, for now.
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe doused a potential wildfire Thursday when he issued a statement saying the conference wouldn't allow the Longhorn Network, a new network on ESPN, to televise Texas high school football games.
The Longhorn Network, devoted to the University of Texas, will launch next month. When the enterprise was announced in January, ESPN and Texas said as many as 18 high school football games would be part of the programming.
Texas A&M was among the schools that openly questioned the NCAA legality of the Longhorn Network broadcasting high school games, suggesting the arrangement violated recruiting rules.
Aggies athletic director Bill Byrne said Thursday that despite the Big 12's ruling, he has concerns.
"We are pleased that the commissioner has started to address these concerns, but many questions remain," Byrne said through the university. "These are significant issues for all collegiate athletics as they relate to broadcast rights, revenue distribution and the recruitment of student-athletes."
The Aggies' beef gained traction this week when the subject was discussed by the school's Board of Regents and the rumor mill churned that A&M might seek conference affiliation elsewhere, perhaps the Southeastern Conference, if the Texas network showed high school games.
Beebe's statement suggested that the conference explore such opportunities together when the league's new $1.3 billion deal with Fox Sports kicks in next year.
Also, Beebe said, Texas will not televise a conference game on its network. Earlier, Texas and ESPN announced a Big 12 game would be broadcast on the Longhorn Network, prompting an outcry f rom fans. Why should an opponent's fan base have to subscribe to a Texas network to watch its team play?
"Members are committed to working together to address issues in a manner that benefits all members," Beebe said. "Elements of our new television agreement, which takes effect in 2012, need clarification, and the members will be working together to develop a process that will work to the benefit of the entire Conference.
"Until the members have a chance to consider all the issues and come to conclusion about how the conference will manage the interplay between the conference television package and instituti onal networks, no more than one live football game will be televised on any institutional network and no high school content will be televised on a branded member's network."