Mossman Prophecies No. 003
July 2, 2007
"Weather" once held the distinction as the most-talked about
topic in Oklahoma. Then television networks got
hold of college football and the weather was replaced
by... kickoff times.
Word has it that the Hatfield-McCoy feud started
over a kickoff time. Same for the rivalry between
cats and dogs.
Mention kickoff times and the torch is lit for spirited
Merchants and hearty tailgaters hate the morning
kickoffs. Fans that come from a distance dislike
the evening. I can't recall anyone being ticked
off about the afternoon starting times, but rest assured
And since people are mad, there is just one thing
left to do. Place blame. It is at this point
where anger and sound judgment part company.
There is a faction that is certain Oklahoma Athletics
Director Joe Castiglione could simply pound his crimson
fist on the table and get things changed. To be
sure, Joe protests, and he has scored minor victories
here and there, but there are well-defined bounds to
what even he can accomplish.
When the networks handed over all that cash to purchase
the television rights for the Big 12 Conference, they
did so with thick strings attached. The ability
to set starting times is among those.
TV needs that flexibility to plot games in such
a way as to maximize viewership. And high ratings
translate into big bucks from advertisers. Profit
for the networks in turn benefits the Big 12 and its
The benefits derived from those television dollars
help make it possible for OU to do a lot of things
that fans enjoy most, not the least of which is compensate
a coach that rates as fairly popular in these parts.
Television's impact goes beyond the dollars too. While
hundreds of thousands of fans around here critique
the start times, there are millions in other parts
of the world that are simply thankful that the games
are on at all. Those people don't have the option
of attending in person and rely on TV for a visual
link to the program.
And what about recruiting prospects? The last
football signing class at Oklahoma pulled in players
from nine states. Many of them became acquainted
with OU through television and many of their parents
were assured of seeing their offspring play in college
There is no question that television's upside far
outweighs the inconvenience it causes with early, late
and varied start times. This is a topic that must
be viewed on balance.
For the record, most OU Athletics Department employees
line up with the fans on this one. Do you think
any of us like arriving here at the crack of dawn for
11 a.m., kickoffs? Surely the players (you remember
the value of sleep during the college years) dislike
the morning starts.
But there is a bigger picture, 60-some inches in
High Def for some folks, which must be considered.
Curse the networks for kickoff times if you must,
but pay at least some lip service to the incredible
benefit they bring to the OU program. And cut
Joe C., a break. He fights for the most palatable
schedule OU can get, plus he likes his Saturday morning
solitude just as much as the next person.
P.S.: One member of the media raised this
question relative to kickoff times earlier this spring...
If OU and Texas could reject ABC's proposal to move
the Red River Rivalry to an evening kickoff, why can't
schools reject other starting times? That answer
lies in the existing contract. ABC has specific
windows in which it can schedule Big 12 games. The
prime time game that the network is introducing this
season falls outside those windows and is therefore
not subject to the agreement.
P.S.S.: I do think college baseball players
have a beef when it comes to starting times. After
OU defeated Rice to force a third game in the super
regional, the two teams had to wait well into the evening
before finding out what time they would play the following
day. When the starting time was set by ESPN, it
was set for noon, which means only 16 hours passed
between the announcement of the time and the start
of the game.
Mossman Prophecies Archive
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Kenny Mossman, Associate Athletics Director for
Communications, provides his perspective on Oklahoma
Athletics in his regular column on SoonerSports.com.