It can be done.
Proof of it came last week, when the University of Kansas completed deals to sell its third-tier rights.
They did so without the cat fighting that has gone on as West Virginia University has tried to sell its third-tier rights, leading to charges of impropriety that reached as high as the Board of Governors and the president of the school.
That led to a “do-over” with the cast of characters changed to some degree and to lawsuits that are still being contested.
Kansas, which in many ways is a university quite similar to WVU, managed to work its way through the process without much in the way of hitches and came up with a deal that can give you an idea of what WVU has been trying to set up for itself.
First of all, Kansas used the same company — IMG Sports — to put things together as WVU had planned to do before it all hit the fan.
There has been some misunderstanding of what IMG’s role in this was.
IMG is a broker for the wide-ranging rights the school possesses — from its radio broadcasts, TV broadcasts of non-league games and coaches’ shows or any other kinds of specials it may produce, its advertising in and out of stadium, its game-day magazine, sponsorships and website.
There are really only two companies prominent in doing this on the college level — IMG Sports and Learfield. They handle nearly all the power schools.
Among Learfield’s top clients are Stanford, USC, Alabama, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Penn State, Clemson, North Carolina and Miami, Fla., with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Texas Tech in the Big 12.
The other top schools, for the most part, are handled by IMG, but one or the other works as brokers for almost everyone’s third-tier rights.
“What people need to remember is that none of these companies that are in that space have networks. They try to find the best exposure and dollars and access for that school’s properties,” WVU athletic director Oliver Luck explained, as best he can considering he is restricted because the deals are still being negotiated and the litigation is still active.
So it is that IMG worked out deals for Kansas to sell its rights to Time Warner Cable Sports, Comcast and ESPN3 in separate deals.
This is big stuff, as Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com explained.
“Though it’s only six basketball games (four non-conference, two exhibitions) and one football game, those are six very valuable basketball games. We’re talking Kansas. Think if Kentucky did this how many fans would switch services to catch a meaningless non-conference game. Lots, but Kentucky can’t do it. Like the rest of the SEC schools, it sold its third-tier rights to the conference. That’s pretty much the same situation in each of the other four BCS conferences.”
The Big 12 does differ from the other conferences. The Pac-12 sold its rights back to the conference, as did the SEC. The Big 10 does it through the conference’s network and the ACC, at the moment, is in a state of transition, so its setup is confusing.
The Big 12, however, was able to stay together only by allowing Texas to start its own Longhorn Network, which meant the other schools could keep their third-tier rights and sell them as they saw fit.
This particular deal gives Kansas a huge national reach, ESPN3 reaching a potential 85 million people.
Certainly, Kansas basketball is the centerpiece and those six games are big items on the market and to alumni spread across the nation.
You can access ESPN3 on your computer, tablet, phone or Smart TV through your provider. Kansas City is being used as a test market for Google Fiber, and Kansas City is a key market for KU and K-State. The service claims to provide speeds 100 times faster than normal.
The same, on a lesser scale, can be said about WVU sports, but still it is an important item in keeping alumni around the country in touch, in creating interest for donations and in recruiting both athletes and students.
As with anything else, there are drawbacks. For example, if WVU’s sports wound up with Time Warner and Comcast, those having Direct TV would be cut out or have to change carriers, so it is more a nirvana for the school’s bottom line than for all its fans.
In the end, it will all be worked out, the rights sold and the games on the air somewhere, somehow because there is too much money and exposure involved for a settlement to it all not to be reached.
Email Bob Hertzel at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.
It can be done.
5 memorable college hoops tourney buzzer beaters
It's March, which means the NCAA Tournament is just around the corner. But before March Madness takes hold, the conference tournaments, which get under way this week, often provide their own share of exciting finishes. Here are five memorable buzzer beaters from conference tournament play.
Fairmont Senior bullies Ritchie County to claim regional title: PHOTOS
While remnants of a winter storm remained outside of the Woody Williams Armory, No. 1 Fairmont Senior was on fire inside, beating Ritchie County, 69-31, for the Region I title.
It was business as usual for Fairmont Senior, which will advance to the state tournament beginning next Wednesday in Charleston.
North Marion tops Webster, 76-48
North Marion rebounded from a sectional championship loss to beat Webster County, 76-48, on the road Thursday night to punch its ticket to the state tournament.
The Lady Huskies, which had four of their five starters in double figures, used a team effort to get the win.
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In the end, with Bob Huggins, they count victories and losses, and he has always been one to pile up the victories while keeping the losses to a minimum, at least until the last two seasons at West Virginia University.
And, in the end, when he tries to analyze why the losses have come rather than the victories, he comes to understand that he just doesn’t have the manpower to compete.
Cold-shooting Lady Falcons fall to State
In its biggest game of the season to date Fairmont State suffered its worst performance.
Fifth-seeded FSU shot a season-low 29.5 percent from the field (18-of-61), including a dismal 8-of-33 showing (24.2 percent) in the second half and as a result fell, 71-59, to fourth-seeded West Virginia State in the quarterfinals of the first Mountain East Conference Women's Basketball Tournament here Thursday night at the Charleston Civic Center.
Falcons hope for tournament run
Since day one, making another post-season run has been at the top of Fairmont State coach Jerrod Calhoun’s mind.
Last season the Falcons went three-for-four in the WVIAC Tournament, falling to West Liberty in the tournament’s final game. The strong run, though, propelled the Falcons into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed.
Carey, Bussie headline Big 12 awards
To the victors go the spoils, and West Virginia University’s newly crowned Big 12 women’s basketball regular-season co-champions certainly took down their share of the conference’s post-season awards, headed by coach Mike Carey and senior center Asya Bussie.
FURFARI COLUMN: Women’s finale fitting as all-time Coliseum great
If you weren’t among the thrilled, extremely vocal 5,502 fans at the WVU Coliseum last Tuesday night, you missed one of the most memorable sports events in that 44-year-old arena’s history.
The No. 7 nationally ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team’s capture of the Big 12 Conference regular-season co-championship beating Kansas 67-60 on Senior Night was followed by a wild, wonderful celebration.
Local product enters Mount St. Mary’s Hall of Fame
Fairmont Senior graduate Heather Wable DeWees has been inducted into Mount St. Mary’s University Athletics Hall of Fame.
During her time on Mount St. Mary’s women’s basketball team, she was described as a “winner.”
Elliott, Delligatti share state championship win with their fathers
As human beings, we love to share special moments with those we are closest to.
For Ryan Elliott and Vincent Delligatti, that moment was winning the state championship, something they were both able to accomplish with their father as a coach on their wrestling team.
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