Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, May 3, 2001


Early plan
has WAC on
national TV

Conference's football coaches
meet to talk about TV
contracts and bowl ties

By Paul Arnett

The football coaches for the Western Athletic Conference met in Arizona yesterday to discuss such wide-ranging issues as the proposed television contracts with Fox Sports and ESPN, and which bowls the league has ties to this season.

Associate league commissioner Jeff Hurd said from Phoenix that there were no major policy issues discussed and reiterated that ESPN's television proposal for football and basketball was not signed, sealed and delivered.

Although he couldn't comment on the particulars of the deal that will be acted upon by the schools' presidents in June, it's believed Fox Sports will continue to handle the regional broadcasts in football and basketball, while ESPN will take over the national games for both major sports.

ESPN will likely do four national broadcasts in football and three in basketball. One of the four football games will be a Friday affair in November. At this time, all 10 WAC schools are being considered, but Hurd said they would like an attractive league game that had possible title implications.

The University of Hawaii's games that month are against San Jose State and Boise State. The Warriors also have nonconference matchups with Miami (Ohio) and the Air Force Academy.

"There are a lot of possibilities," Hurd said. "We're glad to be in that position to have a national game for our league. But let me say, we still have to reach an agreement with ESPN before this could happen. We might have an announcement in a week or two. We'll have to see how things develop."

Hurd said the two bowl destinations are the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, and the Silicon Valley Football Classic in San Jose, Calif. He thought it would be difficult for any bowl arrangements to be made in Hawaii this year.

"But that could be an option for us next year," Hurd said. "I don't think the presidents would act on something like that this quickly, but you never know. Right now, our only two tie-ins are in San Jose and Boise."

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