Words from Oklahoma State’s head football coach Mike Gundy this week give a accurate description on the life blood of the Big Twelve conference and mirror the feelings of Oklahoma University President David Boren and many other league followers. The league needs their own network, the Big 12 Network. The fact of the matter is two fold. First, if the University of Texas at Austin continues with their own Longhorn Network through ESPN, the league will in fact blow up and it’s demise is just a matter of time. The second fold of the issue is that if this league doesn’t rectify this situation with regard with this single team network for all conference members, the University of Oklahoma, in a future move, will take it’s name and associate it with a more progressive and brotherly conference such as the Southeastern Conference or the Pacific Athletic Conference. It is assumed, and rightly so, that Oklahoma State would piggy back Oklahoma and join the new conference together. The sports programs in Stillwater and Norman are highly attractive and would have no trouble taking their athletes elsewhere. This future dire outlook for the Big Twelve doesn’t even include the issue of adding more teams to the league as a larger conference, which Boren and others think, is a necessity and not a want.
“If we don’t eliminate the Longhorn Network and create our own network, they’re going to continue to have issues with this league,” Gundy told CBSSports.com. “You don’t have a Big 12 Network; you have a network within the league that people consider a failure.”
“Everything is based on marketing,” Gundy said. “Right now the Big 12 is not getting the marketing we need because of the Longhorn Network.”
“If Texas doesn’t [fold LHN] in X number of years, they’re going to be in the Pac-12 or SEC,” Gundy said. “If that’s what they want, keep riding this horse. If you don’t want that, you better make some changes or it’s going to happen whether you like it or not.”
In January, OU President David Boren spoke out about the disadvantages of the Big Twelve and it’s television network setup:
“The Big 12 is disadvantaged when compared to the other conferences in three ways. We do not have at least twelve members, we do not have a conference network, and we do not have a championship game,” Boren said in a statement he released to OU Daily. “I think that all three of these disadvantages need to be addressed at the same time. Addressing only one without addressing all three will not be adequate to improve the strength of the conference.”
Time will tell if the Big Twelve gets the University of Texas under control. The league’s life line may be short if the Horn Network continues in it’s current state operation.
Gundy Photo: (G.J. McCarthy/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
Boren Photo: No photo credit given