Texas Tech played complacent with the Longhorn Network as Texas A&M and Missouri cursed it on their exit from the Big 12. But as ESPN begins flexing its broadcast muscles, perhaps in an effort to land the station greater distribution, the Red Raiders are living a Tier 3 television rights nightmare. Texas Tech‘s road game in San Marcos on September 8th against Texas State is slated for ESPN viewership. The World Wide Leader failed to signify which channel though and apparently, it’s the one millions in the Lone Star State can’t see.
Chris Level, publisher of RedRaiderSports.com, states that the Tech administration considers cancelling the game and playing eleven (rather than a full 12-game schedule) this fall a more suitable option than appearing on Longhorn Network. Owned by ESPN outright, the contract provides a bit of a bad guy wall for Texas where they point to Bristol suits and say, “they’re the problem, not us.” But that won’t stop the regional perception that athletic director DeLoss Dodds could pick up the phone and end the dramatics.
Perhaps he will.
The issue remains that the University of Texas-San Antonio showed six home games last fall on Longhorn Network and their conference, the WAC, the same place Texas State resides, utilizes the station. That prior relationship and some obscure clause, written in the inner layers of television deals, likely allows ESPN to put the game on Longhorn Network because it’s an ESPN property. Or, and this is more probable, ESPN may inform the Red Raiders it can do whatever the hell it likes.
Tommy Tuberville needs the tune-up against the Bobcats because let’s be honest, he’s not in a position to pass on victories at the moment. Texas Tech‘s administration might fight back for pride but Texas Tech‘s head coach requires job security. The matchup could take place on a cardboard box with a hangar acting as an antenna and Tuberville gladly accepts the win.
A litany of options are available to ESPN, all less intrusive than forcing a Big 12 institution to appear on a rival school’s channel. Will they acquiesce to the public relations battle Texas Tech seems willing to start?
The last time those two parties engaged each other in that arena, Mike Leach ended up unemployed for two years.
Better hope for a peaceful resolution, Tubs.