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  1. #1
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    Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports?

    Gene DeFilippo backpedaled quickly an old quarterback executing one more scramble after suggesting last month that one of the most stunning shifts in the recent wave of realignment in college sports had been scripted by ESPN.







    The Boston College athletics director apologized, saying he'd misspoken when he told The Boston Globe that the cable television titan "told us what to do" before the Atlantic Coast Conference chose Pittsburgh and Syracuse as new members, plundering the neighboring Big East.
    His retreat did little to quell conspiracy theories. Questions continue to bubble about whether ESPN the 32-year-old network that has become a defining force in sports and the culture around them has been a key behind-the-scenes player at a time of high-profile realignment in college sports. Fueled largely by schools seeking more money and security in their conference arrangements, the scramble has touched at least a half-dozen leagues and threatened several traditional For all that ESPN has lent to the growth of major-college athletics through on-air exposure and with rights-fees payouts that schools have fed into stadium improvements, luxurious locker rooms and huge contracts for top coaches there's an undercurrent of concern about the influence of the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports.
    It's not just that its tentacles are everywhere: They're everywhere at once.
    As a TV rights holder, ESPN is a business partner to a wide array of conferences and schools (its total college outlay will average more than $700 million annually by next year).
    And as a leading broadcast, print and online news outlet, ESPN also reports the news it's often a party to making.
    "We've created I was going to say a blurry line, but I don't think there is any line anymore as to who's in charge," says Andy Geiger, a former athletics director at Ohio State University.
    "We're doing business with an entertainment company whose only way of surviving involves the number of eyeballs watching the screen," he says. "That is the driving force in what I see as all the decisions being made."
    DeFilippo gave at least momentary voice to suspicions that ESPN, the sole TV rights holder in the ACC, is nudging realignment in the direction of its choice a notion ESPN dismisses as myth.
    "These (realignment) decisions lie entirely within the conferences and the universities," says Burke Magnus, ESPN's vice president for college sports programming.
    "We haven't been advocates of change in this realm because our business interests are best served by stability."
    ESPN has, however, been a focus of public discontent in the Big 12, which a year ago saw Colorado defect to the Pac-12 and Nebraska to the Big Ten.
    The network's 20-year, $300 million partnership with Texas in The Longhorn Network (LHN) rankled some of the Big 12's remaining schools, primarily because of ESPN's initial interest in using LHN to carry high school and other games that league rivals considered out of bounds.
    The Longhorn Network gave Texas A&M a final excuse to bolt the Big 12, too.
    The Aggies are bound for the Southeastern Conference, effective next year. Big 12 colleague Missouri appears headed down the same path to the SEC.
    Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports? – USATODAY.com



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    Re: Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports?

    Duh....



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    Re: Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports?

    Gald to see somebody call them out. My dislike for ESPN grows on a daily basis.

    Even teams like OU and OSU do not get the same coverage that teams from high popultation areas like USC. And of coures now they have vested interest in LHN they will continue to give Texas plenty of press.



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    Re: Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports?

    You think how many other teams in the Big 12 are too scared to speak out against Texas... ESPN is much in the same way, except on a much larger scale. They are a necessary evil because of their popularity.


    Go Sssssssssyclones!

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    Re: Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports?

    This is why I hope that when Tier 1 gets renegotiated, it is with Fox sports and not ABC/ESPN. Fox sports does a much better production IMO too.


    "The greatest risk in life is not taking one"

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    Re: Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports?

    Quote Originally Posted by CysRage View Post
    This is why I hope that when Tier 1 gets renegotiated, it is with Fox sports and not ABC/ESPN. Fox sports does a much better production IMO too.
    Would FOX show B12 games as network broadcasts on Saturday if they were our Tier1 provider? I kind of worry about having all our Tier 1 and Tier 2 games wrapped up in a single provider, not to mention ESPN would probably stop promoting anything in the B12 that wasn't Texas related if this happened.



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    Re: Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports?

    Pat Forde recently left ESPN for Yahoo Sports reportedly because ESPN would not let him speak his mind regarding conference realignment.



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    Re: Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports?

    Quote Originally Posted by CysRage View Post
    This is why I hope that when Tier 1 gets renegotiated, it is with Fox sports and not ABC/ESPN. Fox sports does a much better production IMO too.
    I wouldn't be surprised to see NBC get involved. Especially with what they are doing with Versus. I'm pulling for them!



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    Re: Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports?

    Quote Originally Posted by CloneHead View Post
    Pat Forde recently left ESPN for Yahoo Sports reportedly because ESPN would not let him speak his mind regarding conference realignment.
    interesting.....



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    Re: Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports?

    Quote Originally Posted by CysRage View Post
    This is why I hope that when Tier 1 gets renegotiated, it is with Fox sports and not ABC/ESPN. Fox sports does a much better production IMO too.
    FSN is cheap. FX is legit.



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    Re: Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports?

    I've never figured out why they bother to show high school games on a national scale like they do. Does anybody (around here) really care about a high-ranking recruit playing football in a CA, FL or TX school when he's already committed to some distant college? I would think the only people watching this would be the two competing schools and the college that recruited said superstar.

    I'll give them credit for showing the Aplington-Parkersburg game that was played after Ed Thomas's death, but that was more out of honoring a legend, rather than for recruiting purposes.



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    Re: Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports?

    Quote Originally Posted by CloneHead View Post
    Pat Forde recently left ESPN for Yahoo Sports reportedly because ESPN would not let him speak his mind regarding conference realignment.
    Speaking of which, today is his first day at Yahoo, and he already has a Forde-Yard Dash column up, and gives some props to us:

    Oklahoma State vs. Complacency (17), Nov. 5, 12 and 19. The Cowboys are in prime position to play the SEC champion for the national title, and the final hurdle looms largest: the annual Bedlam game against hated rival Oklahoma in Stillwater on Dec. 3. But we’re dealing with November first, and there are three opponents Oklahoma State must treat with respect before getting to the biggest game in school history. First up is Kansas State on Saturday in Stillwater, and even with the Wildcats at 7-1 that could be the easiest of the three – they have the look of an overachiever whose bubble burst in the second half against Oklahoma. Then there are consecutive road trips to Texas Tech and Iowa State. Ask Bob Stoops about taking on Tommy Tuberville with a high ranking, and then ask Nebraska, Texas and Iowa about the risk of overlooking Paul Rhoads’ Cyclones. Oklahoma State should be 11-0 and ranked no worse than No. 2 heading into December – but funny things happen this time of year.



  13. #13
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    Re: Is ESPN the main force behind realignment in college sports?

    Quote Originally Posted by CloneHead View Post
    Pat Forde recently left ESPN for Yahoo Sports reportedly because ESPN would not let him speak his mind regarding conference realignment.

    Love Pat Forde and his parting shot at the mothership.


    "The Dash applied for membership and was accepted by the worldwide leader in sports journalism."

    I'm sure he wanted to use bold face on those last two words.



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