Thursday, September 30, 1999
Fox passes onBy Pat Bigold
The Rainbow Classic's chances of even regional coverage now appear slim.
Four of five regional Fox networks contacted confirmed they will not pick up the Classic. A spokesman for the fifth, Fox Ohio, could not be reached. But a source with Fox Net said it's very unlikely the Ohio network would be interested.
The Classic is scheduled for Dec. 27-30 at the Stan Sheriff Center.
ESPN decided early in the summer that it would end four years of national coverage of the 35-year-old tournament. Hawaii athletic director Hugh Yoshida then said he was entering into negotiations to secure Fox Net for national coverage.
Fox Net said last week that it is not interested in carrying the eight-team tournament.
"Not only did the lineup not appeal to the viewers in our area but we wouldn't be able to fit it into our schedule anyway," said Fox West spokesman Steve Webster.
"If there was a USC or UCLA in the field, we might have tried to move things around to try to make space. But there are no southern California teams at all."
The Classic field this year includes Hawaii, Gonzaga, Colorado, Villanova, Bradley, Ohio, Oregon and Wake Forest.
The lack of exposure would affect the Rainbows' basketball program in two ways.
Outrigger Hotels, which has committed $100,000 as title sponsor for each year of national coverage, would reduce its financial commitment, according to marketing director Bryan Klum.
Head coach Riley Wallace could have a more difficult time recruiting without being able to promise his top recruits national exposure.
But Wallace, though disappointed, pointed out that when he came here as head coach in 1987, he didn't have the luxury of offering national exposure.
"We were able to get it done (recruiting) back then," he said. "We just have to work harder. But it made it easier."
Ka Leo O Hawaii