ESPN and the University of Texas agreed to a $300 million, 20-year deal to launch the school’s own television network this fall. The network will operate outside the Big 12’s television agreements and sets the stage for a weird arrangement that could ultimately hurt a number of interested parties.
It’s truly mind-boggling that the NCAA refuses to place the fairness of student-athletes above any of these gluttonous universities. They’re quick to slap the behinds of the Reggie Bush’s of the world, long after they’ve collected millions off their backs, while encouraging them to break the rules by allowing the schools to flaunt their greed.
Just months ago, we thought Texas would decide to leave a Big 12 Conference that saw its luster diminish. The school decided to stay with the conference because it could rake in the cash with its own television network.
Rumors surfaced that Texas would join the Pac-10; however, one important issue stood in the way of that particular union. The Pac-10 refuses to allow any of its schools to compete with the conference network which is something Texas couldn’t accept. Texas had no problems luring schools back to the Big 12, flashing the $242 million, Big 12 TV contract before their eyes.
Texas will walk almost $248 million to the bank in this new deal with ESPN. Isn’t something wrong with this picture? How much money is too much money to make off the backs of amateur athletes?
It’s a business you say? Why shouldn’t the schools try to make as much money as possible?
Ask these poor kids who see these universities treat them like cash-cows each and every year. The NCAA has so many restrictions on how the kids can make money, but what about the universities? The system is severely unfair and out of control. Unfortunately, no one cares as long as the money continues to rolls in.
Since we’re talking about money, it’s imperative that we think about how the deal will influence the media and recruiting.
We watch the news and expect them to be fair in their coverage of the day’s news. They shouldn’t have any hidden agendas or any hidden loyalties to anyone. We expect that, and that’s an important element of journalistic ethics and standards.
Could you trust ESPN knowing that they have an interest in Longhorn football?
ESPN will invest $300 million in this network and I’m sure this will manipulate their opinions, polls, and coverage on all the ESPN stations.
We’ve seen networks take a stand against similar acts to protect their credibility. MSNBC suspended their morning show co-host Joe Scarborough for making political donations during his time at the network. Now think about what ESPN as a network is doing? They’ve decided to do business with an entity that they are supposed to fairly cover. Applaud MSNBC and frown on ESPN.
The University of Texas can also use the network as an additional recruiting tool, which should infuriate the rest of the Big 12. University of Texas president William Powers was quoted on ESPN saying, “This is an extremely exciting new venture for our university. With our partners, we are now able to increase the exposure of our outstanding athletics programs and our first-class academic and cultural communities.”
The NCAA has strict rules on recruiting. Most inadvertent violations occur from improper contacts by university staff. A 24-hour network is a safe way for the school to contact your child without permission. What an easy way to access millions of homes without much regulation.
The entire deal seems wrong in so many ways. It’s unfair to the student-athlete. It provides an unfair advantage in recruiting, and it corrupts media credibility.
Most in important of all, it seems to continue to track college sports down a scary path of greed and self-righteousness.
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