We learn, courtesy of Baseball America's Aaron Fitt, what ESPN's college baseball broadcast schedule is going to look like. Here it is:
Tuesday, April 1 (7 p.m.): Rice at Texas
Sunday, April 6 (2 p.m.): North Carolina A&T at Bethune-Cookman
Friday, April 18 (7 p.m.): Oklahoma State at Texas
Sunday, April 20 (3 p.m.): UNC Asheville at Coastal Carolina
Saturday, April 26 (3:30 p.m.): St. John’s at Notre Dame
Friday, May 9 (6 p.m.): Portland at Pepperdine
First, let me say something positive about this lineup of games. The network did a nice job of covering almost every region of the country. That's it. On to the less positive stuff.
Six whole games? Wow, that's quite a commitment. How can ESPN afford to give up that much valuable airtime? Oh, that's right. They are all on ESPNU -- a network nobody has.
How many people actually have ESPNU? I'm not sure exactly how many households have access, but I do know it's a small stinkin' number. (Not as small as the number of homes with the Big Ten Network, of course, but still pretty tiny.) This unprecedented coverage will no doubt elevate college baseball to a level it would have had if none of the games were broadcast.
Look, I'm a college baseball guy. I'm happy six more games get some level of television coverage. Really. I am. Yet, I'm disappointment and confused as to why ESPNU couldn't commit to more than a half dozen games. I can understand ESPN, the original, not putting up more than six regular season games, but The U?
There can be only one excuse -- a rights issue. Maybe, just as Big Ten games are the property of good ol' BTN, the ACC, SEC and Pac 10, in particular, have television contracts with other regional networks. That would cut into the amount of games available. Especially, some of the marquee match-ups. However, even if that's the case, televising six games hardly constitutes coverage on a network dedicated to providing exclusively collegiate athletics.