The beginning of the end of the Big Whatever Number Conference as we know it at least partially began with a phone call to Aledo football coach Tim Buchanan.
It was earlier this year when a "marketing guy from Connecticut called me," he said.
The marketing guy from Connecticut was working on behalf of ESPN and, of course, The Longhorn Network, which meant he was also working on behalf of the University of Texas.
"This guy didn't know we had [Texas commitment Johnathan Gray] or anything like that," Buchanan said. "He just wanted to know what were the best games we had on the schedule and if we could move some games around."
He didn't know that UIL rules prevent games from being telecast live on Friday nights until Buchanan told him. So he asked about moving the start time to Saturday at around 1:30. Buchanan informed this Yankee that it would be over 100 degrees, so the answer was no.
One of those games being considered was Aledo's season opener Friday night at Stephenville. Had things gone according to ESPN's plan, that game would have played a major role in Bevo TV's debut this weekend.
We know how this thing played out, the anti-UT rants, the open-records requests and now the further whittling of the Big 12 with Reveille saying, "Get me the woof outta here."
Impact on the pseudo-amateur level that is college football notwithstanding, there is the larger issue of televising high school games.
"This is coming whether you like it or not," Buchanan said when I told him I didn't like the concept. "It's coming."
Agreed, but this is not a discussion just between the NCAA and TV or, God forbid, networks and the colleges they are in business partnerships with.
Leaving this very delicate concept up to marketing guys from Connecticut or any TV suit and the administrators they manipulate is folly. Before this thing further morphs into something bigger than it already is, the people coaching these young men must be involved in designing a plan to protect the game's purity. At the very least, keep the game from getting as dirty as the college game.
"Why don't you think this is a good idea?" Buchanan asked me.
My answer is rooted in the teachings of an ancient philosopher who once said, "Mo' money, mo' problems."
We all have seen how college football is dictated by TV's zeal for live programming, prompting games to be played in every time slot up to and including 10 a.m. on New Year's Day.
"As long as this is about Johnny who is running down on kickoffs and he has an aunt or uncle who can't come to the games but they can watch him on TV, then I don't see how this is a bad thing," Buchanan said. "It has to be about that."
Buchanan told me that when Aledo played its state title game last year on Fox Sports Southwest, the school didn't receive a penny. Another game the Bearcats played on TV was worth about $1,000.
To televise too many games, or any game, could potentially harm the gate receipts, Buchanan said.
All makes sense. All sounds good, too. What we have right now among local TV stations, such as KTXA/Channel 21, Fox Sports regional stations and ESPN, is a handful of games being televised. A handful of stations and local/regional networks runs highlight shows.
But to watch the production value of these games today is nothing like the 1994 state playoff game between Plano East and John Tyler. That game had, I believe, two cameras and a trio of announcers so hilariously raw the game became a broadcast legend.
To watch a televised high school game on ESPN now, I don't see a difference between a Class 4A game or a Sun Belt game, except the crowds are bigger for the high school games. This is the same network that runs a crawl announcing where high school players have committed, or are considering, to play college ball.
It all makes for something that feels like it's about ready to turn pro. Where we are with this is delicate.
"It's unfortunate that the pace of society has increased tenfold, and you start putting young men in positions that possibly they are not ready to handle," Stephenville coach Joe Gillespie said. "You see it all through college and even professional sports. It starts to put high school football in the same category. There are some things about it that are really neat. I have kids myself, and it would be awesome for them, but there are a lot of things you can argue against it."
Gillespie wants to keep this level of televised high school coverage "right where it's at."
I agree. Buchanan said he expects when this season is over for the Texas High School Coaches Association to put this topic on the agenda. Maximum appearances, game film exchanges, start times need to be regulated and, if necessary, revenue sharing must be considered.
Buchanan is right. This thing is coming.
At the very least, the people in charge can learn from the various mistakes the NCAA and college conferences made to protect at least the ideal of what they have. This needs to just be about Johnny running down on kickoffs rather than pleasing some marketing guy in Connecticut.
Follow Mac Engel on Twitter @MacEngelProf.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7697