DKW 86 6,350 Posted July 27, 2006 Share Posted July 27, 2006 http://www.tbo.com/sports/gators/MGB838QJ4QE.html Officials Examine Network ModelsSkip directly to the full story. Published: Jul 27, 2006 HOOVER, ALA. - The Southeastern Conference likely will follow the lead of the Big Ten and the Mountain West conferences and create its own television network, though SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Wednesday the network likely won't go on the air for two to three years. Slive said conference officials are examining several different models for the network, which likely would feature live broadcasts of SEC games in all sports as well as lectures and concerts provided by each of the conference's 12 member schools. "We're going to continue to explore this concept very seriously," Slive said, "taking into consideration the current distribution of our games over the airwaves, the ever-changing world of technology, the needs of our region and the needs of our fans." Slive said the formation of a network probably would wait until after the conference's current television contracts expire. The league's football deals with CBS, ESPN and Lincoln Financial Sports (formerly Jefferson-Pilot) expire after the 2008 season. Contracts for other sports expire in spring 2009. Last month, the Big Ten announced the formation of a 24-hour network in partnership with ABC and ESPN. The network will launch in 2007 and will be distributed on cable and satellite systems alongside more familiar offerings such as MTV and ESPN. The Mountain West announced a similar plan last week, though it initially only will be offered to Comcast Cable subscribers in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. Florida fans living in those states may recognize one of the network's lead anchors. James Bates, a starting linebacker on the Gators' 1996 national title team, has been hired for the network's football coverage team. FLORIDA APPROACHED: A fledgling professional football league has approached Florida officials about playing games at Florida Field. The All American Football League, a spring minor league formed by a group that includes former NCAA president Cedric Dempsey and former UF president Charles Young, hopes to use colleges as home bases. The league would only use players who have exhausted their eligibility and who have graduated from college. Players would play on teams based near the school where they played in college. Florida spokesman Steve McClain confirmed Wednesday that UF officials have been approached by the league, but he said no agreement has been reached. TRANSFER RULE: Slive said enough NCAA member schools have objected to the new graduate student transfer rule that the rule has entered the NCAA's override process. The rule allows players who graduate early to transfer without sitting out a year. Any change wouldn't affect the anticipated transfer of CB Ryan Smith from Utah to Florida. Smith is on pace to receive his bachelor's degree this summer, and he is expected to transfer to Florida in time to play this season. CONTROVERSIAL CALL: Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson still hasn't gotten over the unsportsmanlike conduct call against one of his players that forced the Commodores to kick an extra point and play overtime instead of allowing Vandy to go for a 2-point conversion and a win at Florida last year. WR Earl Bennett was flagged for a very brief end zone shimmy after catching a touchdown pass late in the Commodores' 49-42, double-overtime loss to the Gators. The call caused a stir among Vandy fans who believed the officials were protecting Florida from an embarrassing, nationally televised upset. Johnson said Wednesday his favorite response came in a letter from a woman in Minnesota. "She said, 'Coach, the Southern Baptists allow more dancing than what Earl did,'" Johnson said. Andy Staples Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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