On the Pac-12 Networks and the Elephant in the Room

Posted by Andrew Murawa on January 29th, 2015

Listen. Can we talk about the Pac-12 Networks? Now you, dear reader, like me, you love the Pac-12 Networks. You may have had another cable or satellite TV provider before the networks were announced and may have even been relatively pleased with the service they provided. But when push came to shove and these networks were live and showing exclusive Pac-12 football and basketball games, you went out of your way to dump your old provider and find a new one that offered you this network instead. There was no way in hell you were going to go through a season missing games simply because DirecTV or whoever your provider was couldn’t come to an agreement with the conference on carrying its programming. So you’ve been enjoying the hell out of it for the past three seasons, watching all the games you want to see from your favorite conference, including most recently, last week’s Arizona vs. Utah top-10 clash and last Saturday’s triple-header of conference games. So, for you and for me and other like-minded fans of the conference, this development has been nothing but good.

For Die-Hards, The Pac-12 Networks Have Been A Positive Development

For Die-Hards, The Pac-12 Networks Have Been A Positive Development

The problem is that we’re not everybody. The most recent numbers I cared to look for showed DirecTV with 20.231 million subscribers in the United States at the end of the second quarter in 2014. As you may well know, DirecTV does not carry the Pac-12 Networks. Both sides carried on negotiations about the possibility of a deal, but many years later, there’s no sign of ever getting anywhere. And there are other cable providers with similar stances, which is why you get criticism of the conference when big games – like that Arizona/Utah game – are shown only on the Pac-12 Networks. Our own Shane Connolly fired a shot across the bow when he noted on the RTC Podcast last week that he was happy that the second Utah/Arizona match-up (on February 28) will be shown on a “real channel” (namely ESPN). Ouch. And, you know what? Those criticisms are fair. In this day and age of media saturation, not having access to a channel and its games is unacceptable.

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Morning Five: 08.01.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 1st, 2012

  1. The NCAA on Tuesday hammered Central Florida with a one-year postseason ban as a result of the dreaded “lack of institutional control” violation in both its football and men’s basketball programs. The penalty is effective next season, which means that UCF’s last round in Conference USA before moving to the Big East will not contain the possibility of a league championship. For all the nitty-gritty details of the findings and what the probation means to the program, individual players and coaches, read Jeff Goodman’s piece on the matter, but the nutshell is that the athletic department allowed at least one agent to run roughshod through the program even though only one of the players involved (AJ Rompza) ever suited up at UCF. Comically, and as the Orlando Sentinel‘s Mike Bianchi writes: “The most tragically comical part of the whole ordeal is this: The Knights were cheating to get recruits, but none of those recruits ended up playing for the school. It’s one thing to be a cheater; it’s another to be an incompetent cheater.” We’re sure that this makes Ohio State, USC, and all the rest feel much better.
  2. This has been quite a transitional week for a number of college basketball media personalities, as CBS Sports, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated all announced the signing of new talent on Tuesday. The biggest mover was perhaps ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb, who signed on with CBS to serve as a college hoops studio and game analyst, host his own drive-time radio show on CBS Sports Radio and a television show on CBS Sports Network, and provide exclusive online content for CBSSports.com. Gottlieb is one of our favorites in the business because his devotion to research is impeccable and, even when we disagree with his points (which is uncommon), he cuts through all the typical pandering you see on television to make them. This announcement came on the heels of ESPN’s Monday announcement of its own new hires, with former head coaches Bruce Pearl and Seth Greenberg joining the college basketball studio as analysts, and NBA analyst Jalen Rose slotted to replace the departed Hubert Davis on College Gameday. We don’t have much of an opinion on the coaches at this point, but generally feel like Rose’s transformation from Fab Five knucklehead to a solid NBA analyst is one of the greatest we’ve ever witnessed. Others are less impressed with these hires. Finally, SI announced internally on Monday night that the New York Times‘ rabble-rouser Pete Thamel is moving over to its writing lineup. For those wondering, your RTC editors have not yet been contacted by the Times for Thamel’s open position, but we expect the call at any moment.
  3. UNLV basketball has bounced in and out of the Top 25 the last few seasons under Lon Kruger and Dave Rice, but a jump into the national consciousness like the Runnin’ Rebels enjoyed two decades ago with Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Tark the Shark and the rest has remained elusive. But, as Jeff Goodman writes about Rice’s 2012-13 Rebs, the upcoming team will be the most talented that Vegas has seen just off strip since that monstrous team some 20 years ago. With elite talent such as Mike Moser, Anthony Bennett and Khem Birch available to him on the front line, and an athletic backcourt including Anthony Marshall, Bryce Jones and Katin Reinhardt, Rice is realistically talking about pushing tempo to put the “Runnin'” back in the Rebels nickname. If the pieces all come together and UNLV gets past its road woes, this team is a group worth watching all season long.
  4. Speaking of Sin City, Seth Davis is working hard this week, with a two-part piece he calls “Summer Springs Eternal” over on SI.com. The article breaks down his July trip to Las Vegas where he no doubt wore a nice white golf shirt and pow-wowed on the bleachers with the top coaches from around the nation. In the first installment published on Monday, he relates anecdotes from Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, Colorado’s Tad Boyle, Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon, Illinois’ John Groce, UCLA’s Ben Howland, Memphis’ Josh Pastner, DePaul’s Oliver Purnell, and Butler’s Brad Stevens. Part two published on TuesdayVir includes stories and quotes from Virginia’s Tony Bennett, Gonzaga’s Mark Few, San Diego State’s Steve Fisher, USC’s Kevin O’Neill, Purdue’s Matt Painter, Kansas’ Bill Self, and Georgetown’s John Thompson, III. Even if your team’s coach isn’t on this list, it’s well worth the read to see which guys are willing to drop hints of truth about their players and teams, and those who are completely full of coachspeak.
  5. Lists like the one that Athlon Sports just released naming the top 30 coaches in college basketball are a bit of an exercise in futility because the topic is so completely subjective that everyone has a complaint. Still, you don’t release such a list without asking for attention, so here are the top three problems we have with it: 1) It’s very hard to believe that any list of best current college coaches would have anyone other than Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski at the very top. Four national titles, 11 Final Fours, countless wins and accolades… but perhaps most importantly, he saved USA Basketball from the abomination it had become. 2) Roy Williams at #7 is astonishing as well. He has his issues, but is he behind Jim Boeheim and John Calipari? 3) Even if Jim Calhoun retired today, there is no way on this earth that there are 21 better college basketball coaches than him. And definitely not Mike Montgomery, Tom Crean or Mike Brey. Get over there and leave your comments on their list.
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Hansbrough: Wow!

Posted by rtmsf on November 1st, 2009

Psycho-T was a busy little bee this offseason.  When he wasn’t rehabbing his shin for his rookie NBA season or saving wayward puppies with Andy Katz’s clone, he was hawking Acuras for a local outfit in Chapel Hill.  Fair Warning: they let him speak this time.

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Mike Bellman: Mizzou’s Bartman?

Posted by rtmsf on September 29th, 2009

It’s a good thing for the University of Missouri that Kelvin Sampson and Rob Senderoff haven’t been in their employ in recent years.  Otherwise, the Big 12 school would undoubtedly be facing the death penalty with the goldmine of information about coach’s calls, text messages and general cell phone usage that Mizzou is practically giving away to people off the street (actual price: $7.60 per phone).  Mike Bellman, a Columbia-area information specialist for the public school system, bought twenty-five of the old phones from the UM athletic department, and was surprised to find that the private information stored on them hadn’t been erased.  From the Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune:

text msg

Mike Bellman thought he was buying a box of old cellular phones he planned to resell as parts. Instead, he wound up with a collection of electronic information from the University of Missouri’s Athletics Department.  Now, Bellman is auctioning former Athletics Department staff phones as collector’s items. He’s asking $3,000 for all 25 phones.  One cell phone, a Sprint Treo, belonged to MU basketball Coach Mike Anderson, according to Bellman’s online inventory. Photos of the phone’s screen show text messages between Anderson and MU football Coach Gary Pinkel and Athletics Director Mike Alden. The messages appear to be well wishes for upcoming games and congratulations after victories.  Other phones from assistant coaches and Athletics Department staff have hundreds of contact phone numbers, e-mail messages and text messages.

Somewhere in a dungeon on that campus, the intern responsible for this is getting flogged by the Ghost of Norm Stewart. 

Bellman is insane if he thinks these phones will nab three-large, but he’s definitely onto something with respect to marketing the information to rival schools (especially those Jayhawks down the road a piece).  All we know is that Missouri AD Mike Alden better be having a candid conversation with head coaches Mike Anderson and Gary Pinkel before they allow these phones into the wrong hands.  “Hypothetically speaking, Coach, is there anything you’d not want people to know about what’s on those phones?  Just in case, you know?”  Of course, if there is some kind of illegal text messaging or evidence of foul play on those phones (and for the record, we have NO reason to believe that there is), would Bellman become the Steve Bartman of Missouri?  That’s an interesting question.  Let’s wait until tomorrow (the deadline Bellman has imposed for sale at $3000) to see what happens here. 

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Buzz: Erin Andrews Debacle

Posted by rtmsf on July 18th, 2009

Hey, we love Erin Andrews as much as any other red-blooded American sports blogger, and we hold a particularly special place for Ms. Andrews considering she earned her national rep as an ESPN sideline reporter for college sports, most notably football and our beloved game.  But the news that broke last night that some  surly troglodyte filmed her getting dressed in a hotel room through a peephole in the door is reprehensible, unconscionable and utterly criminal.  There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of behavior, and RTC hopes that if we ever have the chance to encounter Andrews in the future at any college basketball games or events, we’ll be able to personally tell her that not all blogs are equally willing to go down that road.  Our hope is that the feds get involved and quickly nail whoever subjected Andrews to such a blatant and sick invasion of her privacy.

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Game Night: Billy Gillispie vs. Jeannine Edwards

Posted by rtmsf on February 17th, 2009

Other than Michigan St. @ Purdue tonight (and really, who wants to watch that?), the games tonight are quite pedestrian.  So piggybacking a report from SportsbyBROOKS yesterday (via Deadspin) that the root of the frosty relations between Kentucky capo Billy Gillispie and ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards goes back to her refusal to enjoy consensual carnal relations with go out with him, we feel compelled to comment on such a weighty matter.

(photo credit: sportsbyBrooks)

(photo credit: sportsbyBrooks)

You may recall our first inkling of their tiff on January 27 when UK played at Ole Miss.  Gillispie was unhappy with his team and thought Edwards’ question was particularly bad, so he told her so. 

Then last week during the UK-Florida game at Rupp, Gillispie seemingly mocked Edwards as he pretended to not hear her question before telling her that she “would know better than” him when it came to, you know, basketball…  stuff.  We even wrote at the time that maybe there was more to his condescension than met the eye. 

So what’s the story here?  The easy answer is that, yeah, Gillispie is peeved that Edwards denied his amorous advances, but as any female aged 18-50 who lives in the Lexington area knows, Billy Clyde isn’t exactly the kind of chap who takes the word “no” to heart.  And that of course assumes he can even remember it.  No, Gillispie has beef with Edwards, but that’s probably because he’s a chauvanist men’s basketball coach who doesn’t respect her position rather than any particular incident involving dating her.  Come on, ladies of Lexington… you gals who frequent Harry’s after games and have fallen into the Gillispie Fly Trap – feel free to chime in here. 

Nevertheless, sideshows sell and so we come to tonight’s UK @ Vanderbilt Jodie Meeks game, and guess who is scheduled to once again be the sideline reporter?  Yep, Ms. Jeannine Edwards.   Is there any question that ESPN’s halftime interview split ratings will be the highest of any game all season long? 

Of course, if Vandy somehow does something interesting for the first time in the history of that school, maybe ESPN will avoid this whole sordid mess by interviewing Kevin Stallings instead.  Wouldn’t that be rich?

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