I'm off work today and bored, so here's this dumb thing. The NCAA just ruled that high school games can't be shown on school (Longhorn Network) or conference (Pac 12 Network, Big Ten Network) run channels because it's an unfair recruiting advantage. I sort of understand the rationale behind this decision, but it also strikes me as kind of silly.
Showing games on a school owned channel might violate the rule saying that schools can't talk about verbal commitments before they sign their LOI, but it seems like a firewall could be built to circumvent that. Sign a deal with the Texas high school governing body (or the CIF, here in CA) and empower them to pick the games. If they choose big powerhouse programs (which they will), they're likely to feature UT commits. But they'll also feature Oklahoma commits, Houston commits, Texas Tech commits, and et cetera. It's not like these programs only have one guy being recruited by Division I programs. The mistake made by TLN was specifically saying that they want to highlight UT commits. That was stupid. Just show high school games. You get programming, football junkies get their fix, high schools get some money that many of them desperately need. Everyone wins. The alternative will be showing infomercials 12 hours a day. More televised high school content would also allow every other school in the country to evaluate unheralded players who might otherwise be overlooked without dedicating finite financial resources to traveling. You're telling me that schools all up and down the NCAA spectrum wouldn't relish being able to unearth some diamonds in the rough they might not otherwise get the chance to see? They could actually SAVE money by not having to subscribe to so many 3rd party recruiting services (hello, Willie Lyles).
And I don't think it's much of a recruiting advantage. Is a kid really going to pick USC over, say, Notre Dame because ONE GAME on the Pac 12 network? A game that might otherwise be shown by Fox Sports West? Unlikely. If there's a recruiting advantage, it probably lies in being able to tell a kid that he'll gain more exposure ONCE HE SIGNS because of a dedicated TV network. If I tell a baseball recruit that his parents will be able to see 20 of his games every year if he signs with Texas, but won't get to see any if he signs with Texas A&M because of TLN, isn't that a much, much larger recruiting advantage? Or that pro scouts will be able to watch him play by DVRing Ucla baseball games and watching in the middle of the week while still being able to scout other schools on the weekend?
If I'm the Pac 12 Network, I'm making it a point to broadcast every single school's pro timing day in advance of the NFL draft. Every. Single. One. And I'd advertise the hell out of it. NFL GM's can only be in so many places. Now they can watch you in real time at their leisure, regardless of whether or not Oregon State's pro day is the same day as Alabama's. Wouldn't that be a pretty intriguing selling point to a kid with NFL dreams?
I guess I just don't see how that's not a much bigger deal than broadcasting a single high school game.