SBD/October 17, 2012/Colleges

NCAA Contract With CBS/Turner For Men's Hoops Could Preclude Any BCS-Style Breakoff

The NCAA tourney's field could expand within the current three-week time frame
The NCAA’s multimedia and marketing contract for the Division I men’s basketball tournament “contemplates further expansion of the field, likely within the event’s current three-week time frame, and it appears to preclude the prospect of an NCAA-sanctioned event involving only the division’s elite-level schools,” according to Steve Berkowitz of USA TODAY. A “heavily redacted part" of the contract for the tourney, which includes TV rights for Turner and CBS, was filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in California. The filing is “part of an antitrust suit” being brought by former UCLA F Ed O'Bannon. Also disclosed in the suit is “the existence of ‘look-ins’ in the 2014-15 and 2019-20 contract years that require the parties to ‘review in good faith any opportunities to increase revenue … and other commitments and obligations,’ meaning the contract’s value to the NCAA could rise.” The document indicates that Turner is “covering certain costs of hosting and operating the NCAA’s commercial website (NCAA.com) and Web store and paying royalties to the association.” The deal includes a section that says that the NCAA “will not amend its rules in any of a series of ways to the extent such amendment causes a material adverse effect on broadcaster.” The contract indicates that, at least “under the NCAA auspices, there won't be a split for basketball purposes such as one that created the Football Bowl Subdivision -- and a conference title will continue to give mid-majors a place in the tournament” (USA TODAY, 10/17).
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