SBD/September 1, 2011/College Football Preview

College Football Media Notes: Fox Takes Majority Ownership Of Big Ten Network

MEDIAPOST.com's David Goetzl noted there was "a provision in the 20-year deal between the Big Ten and Fox that would allow a reversal in control" of the Big Ten Network, and at "some point since June 2010 that kicked in and Fox has moved to an approximate 51% ownership position." When Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany secured a deal for the BTN's launch four years ago, the conference held a "majority stake at about 51%." Under the new ownership arrangement, BTN President Mark Silverman will "continue to report to a board -- it isn't clear if Fox would be able to remove the leader unilaterally -- and Fox will still handle affiliate sales, human resources and other functions." Goetzl noted the "flip in majority control may not alter much functionally," but it is "curious that the Big Ten would make a deal allowing itself to become a minority owner so early in the BTN's lifespan" (MEDIAPOST.com, 8/30).

VIRTUAL REALITY: EA Sports and the NCAA are creating a new fellowship program for former NCAA football student-athletes to aid in the development of "NCAA Football 13," set for release next summer. The 16-week, post-graduate position will be a paid fellowship beginning in January, based at EA Sports' Tiburon Studios in Orlando. Two slots will be made available. "We are excited to add additional football student-athletes to our team, and are confident that their experience on the field will further enhance the depth and authenticity of the videogame franchise," said EA Sports GM/Football Cam Weber (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal) .

FAMILIAR FACE: CBSSPORTS.com's Brett McMurphy reported Rutgers senior Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed after suffering a spinal cord injury in a game against Army last season, will serve as "an analyst for the Rutgers Football Radio Network." He will be "on the broadcast for a segment during the pre-game show, at halftime and on the post-game show for every game this season." LeGrand, who "wants to be a sports broadcaster after graduation," will attend home games and "will call in for his segments for Rutgers' road games" (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/30).

FOOTBALL DIARIES: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' R. Thomas Umstead reported CBS Sports Network will "examine the first black college football game played in New York City as part of a documentary airing Sept. 28." The hour-long documentary, titled "1st & Goal In the Bronx: Grambling vs. Morgan State 1968," will chronicle that game and "those schools in New York City and the cultural and political context surrounding it." CBS officials said that the documentary "explores the history/ of black college football and its struggles in the segregated America of the 20th century" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 8/25).

BLAST FROM THE PAST: In Salt Lake City, Scott Pierce noted Steve Brown and Mike Norseth will call tonight's Montana State-Utah game for KJZZ-Ind., the "first time since 2005 that Brown and Norseth have been handling those chores." It also will be "the first time there's been a local telecast of a Ute football game since before the Mountain West Conference entered into its ill-fated television deal that resulted in the beginning of The Mtn." But Pierce noted this is "a one-year-only situation," as the Pac-12's "new TV contract begins next season and -- again -- there will be no local TV rights" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 8/30).

WAVE OF THE FUTURE: In Kansas, Joshua Kinder noted social media "has changed college athletics," and Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder said that it is "the biggest difference today as the Big 12 faces another possible change in its landscape." Snyder said, "With social media, everything is out there, whatever it is. As far as some of the other stuff that has taken place in college football, we just didn't have the media exposure, so maybe a few things that have taken place in the past didn't get the media exposure" (THEMERCURY.com, 8/30).

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