Archive for Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tulsa time

In Tulsa, it was all about the television money.

September 20, 2011


Amid the current college athletic conference chaos, there was a timely example this weekend of the need to take a breath and reconsider how television dollars dominate college athletics decisions.

The Oklahoma State University and Tulsa University football teams were scheduled to kick off their game in Tulsa about 9 p.m. Saturday. There is no reason the schools would have chosen such a late start unless they were being influenced by the opportunity to have the game televised. An earlier start would be better for the schools, their fans and, most importantly, the players. However, the overriding factor is what is best for the television network that was willing to broadcast the game.

Even if the game had started on time, it probably wouldn’t have concluded until after midnight. As it was, Mother Nature stepped in with a thunderstorm and lightning that delayed the start of the game and delayed it again. Teams waited, fans waited, the storm finally passed, and officials decided it was safe to start the game — shortly after midnight. The game was not completed until about 3:30 a.m. Sunday — but, by gosh, it was on TV for anyone who wanted to stay up and watch it at that hour.

It’s true that such a storm could have interrupted play earlier in the day, but at least the schools would have had more options to get the game started at a reasonable hour. If the TV crew hadn’t been on hand, would the schools have considered simply delaying the game until later the next day rather than starting in the middle of the night?

The situation in Tulsa on Saturday was a dramatic example of how the money from television contracts has become the tail that wags the college athletics dog. Where will it end?


cato_the_elder 6 years, 7 months ago

It's been reported by other media that each school was insured for the loss of TV revenue in the event of weather. Therefore, the decision to wait until midnight and go ahead and play if they were cleared to do so before then was just a questionable one made by two less than brilliant ADs.

Orwell 6 years, 7 months ago

Glad you're in charge of the insurance carrier's claims office, so we can be comfortable that there would be no denial of claim on the grounds that the teams could have played at midnight. Evidently midnight was OK with the teevee folks, so there would have been no loss of income.

In reality, the insurance carrier would likely have guaranteed only that the teams trying to recover would have faced significant legal expenses to pursue their claims.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 7 months ago

On what grounds do you base that statement? The reports I heard were that the ADs were very comfortable that their TV losses would be fully covered if the game wasn't played, but for reasons of their own simply wanted to play it. The type of insurance described is common in that market, and all schools have it. If payment were denied under these circumstances, word would get around very quickly and the insurer wouldn't get any more business in what is clearly a niche/boutique market.

Getaroom 6 years, 7 months ago

The tail of that dog will keep wagging until someone quits feeding the animal. It is always about the money and that "patriotic free market" and the capitalism profit driven mindset that goes with it. There is apparently no end in sight and Joe/June Six Pack have no worries as long as they get their spectator sports on TeeVee. Players make obscene salaries, executives too and all the while college players are enticed to go Pro and hide the perks given under the table (sort of) while in school. The true wonderment lies in the gullibility of the fan base that seems only have a need to be entertained. No secrets there.

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