James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, September 13, 2013

College Football Scheduling: When Worse is Better

I was handled a copy of the Nebraska Cornhusker football schedule today. The dates and locations of the games were determined. The start time of the games, however, were "TBA" for seven of the twelve games.

Twenty years ago, this didn't happen. The start times were scheduled in advance. Games were scheduled, and then tv networks who wanted to carry certain games would adjust their schedule accordingly.

Today, in contrast, game times are adjusted to the convenience of television schedulers. It's unknown whether in two weeks Nebraska will play an 11am game or a 7pm game.

The reason? Money

And it's made the sport better.

As national broadcast networks and cable channels express desire to show more football games, television contracts get richer. The beneficiaries are each university's athletic programs, and the revenue isn't only plowed into the profit-generating football program; they're invested in men's and women's sports that would otherwise operate at a loss.

So, what's worse than 20 years ago? We don't know the kickoff times in advance, which could be frustrating a few times each autumn when other events may conflict and one can't adequately plan ahead. What's better? Everything else. More fans get to watch more games, and more money is made to help more athletic programs.

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