SBD/November 22, 2011/Colleges

BYU TV Contract Threatening To Kill Move To Big East As Football-Only Member

BYU has an eight-year contract with ESPN that pays $1-2M per game
BYU's existing TV contracts “are snagging negotiations with the Big East Conference for BYU to join that league’s proposed western division as a football-only member and are threatening to kill the deal altogether,” according to Jay Drew of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. Sources said that talks between BYU and the Big East “are continuing but that there are ‘some stumbling blocks’ that could lead the league to look at another Western school, perhaps San Diego State, as a traveling partner for Boise State because the Aztecs don’t carry as much TV baggage as BYU.” BYU apparently “wants to retain its home television rights through its eight-year arrangement with ESPN” that allows the net to televise all but one BYU home football game per season with an estimated payout of between $1-2M per game. That deal allows BYU’s own network, BYUtv, “to broadcast the one game not picked up by ESPN and also allows the Cougars to show replays of all their ESPN broadcasts -- home or away -- on BYUtv.” The Big East “does not want to hand over those rights to BYU, primarily because it wants the option of using them when it negotiates a new television contract next year and believes it could affect the value of that contract” (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 11/22). In Utah, Dick Harmon notes many Big East schools “and potential invitees are frustrated with how BYU played its cards.” Washington Examiner reporter Jim Williams yesterday said that “it was BYU officials who rejected a deal that appeared agreed upon last Thursday.” Williams: “Both sides want a deal and are working to get it done. That is where it is now.” He added, “BYU has been accepted by the Big East members in a preliminary vote, with San Diego State as a backup ready to go. They are keeping everything quiet in hopes of getting a deal done within 10 days or less. If it can't get done, then San Diego State is in” (DESERET NEWS, 11/22).

OVER ON THE EAST COAST: CBSSPORTS.com’s Dennis Dodd reported West Virginia Univ. “has given assurances to the Big 12 it will play in the conference in 2012 despite an ongoing lawsuit filed by the Big East that seeks to hold the school to a 27-month waiting period.” Interim Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas said that WVU "had told the league before and after the Big East filed suit on Nov. 4 that it would be in the Big 12 next year." The Big East “did not have immediate comment” about WVU coming to the Big 12 next season. The school “sued the Big East” on Oct. 31 (CBSSPORTS.com, 11/21). WVU AD Oliver Luck said, “We were fortunate to get out. We got out (of the Big East) when the ship was seriously going down. I mean, only the tip of the sail was showing.” He added, “If the goal is to go to a BCS game, it’s better to play in one of the power conferences” (CHARLESTON GAZETTE, 11/19).
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