Report: Texas retains right to fire ESPN hires at Longhorn Network

By Cam Martin Comment

Lest any ESPN commentator takes to the airwaves of the Longhorn Network and says anything distasteful to the ears of the hook ’em crowd, the University of Texas is retaining the right to fire announcers on the 24-hour network that will start carrying Longhorn athletic events this August.

After a successful Freedom of Information request, the Austin American-Statesman learned some of the firing standards that will be in place at the station, for which ESPN paid $300 million to carry Texas athletic events for 20 years.

According to the contract, “in the event that UT reasonably determines that any on-air talent does not reflect the quality and reputation desired by UT for the Network based on inappropriate statements made or actions taken by such talent and so notifies ESPN, ESPN will cause such talent to be promptly replaced (and will in any event no longer allow them on air following such notice).”

On Tuesday, ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz explained in an email, “This is not common in ESPN agreements because this UT network is so unique/new for us …The provision does not allow for random replacement of commentators or reaction to critical comments… it’s more about potential situations where a commentator makes completely inappropriate comments or gets involved in inappropriate actions.”

For example, don’t make any sexually suggestive comments about Bevo, the Longhorns’ mascot.