Sean Miler

Pac-12 launches campaign to get fans to drop DirecTV


The Pac-12 Conference and DirecTV are currently in stiff talks for the satellite provider to carry its Pac-12 Network.

Looks like things have melted down to the point where the conference is throwing barbs. Hard ones.

The Pac-12 is trying to convince fans of teams in the conference to drop DirecTV. That way, fans with the satellite provider actually have a shot at seeing Pac-12 games this season.

They’ve launched a campaign and entitled it, ‘It’s time to switch,” which includes a number of commercials aimed at slinging mud at DirecTV.

“We realize this is affecting many of our fans, and we share their frustration,” said Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans. “We built the Pac-12 Networks to give fans unprecedented access to their favorite teams and sports on TV, and with just two weeks before the fall sports schedule begins, DirecTV continues to deny them that access.”

The campaign includes a series of university-specific 30-second TV and digital spots as well as print and outdoor executions to rally Pac-12 fans and be upfront with DirecTV subscribers. Unless they switch, DirecTV subscribers will miss 750 live Pac-12 sporting events, up from 550 a year ago, including 35 football games and nearly half of all league games. The creation of new shows like The Drive, a 14-part docu-series offering an exclusive look inside the 2013 football season, Pac-12 Sports Report, the flagship studio show providing fans a complete weekly dose of all Pac-12 sports, and Pac-12 Football Weekly, guarantee fans the most in-depth highlights, analysis and behind-the-scenes original programming of all Pac-12 teams on television.

You can watch all the ads here. All Pac-12 teams have their own gimmick spot. They even have a link to show Pac-12 fans how to drop DirecTV. The ads are essentially (and playfully) telling customers that they will only see real (insert mascot here)’s on DirecTV, showing pictures of real wildcats, ducks, buffalo, etc.

This is a pretty aggressive approach from a conference. Though with the rise in television revenue being one of the main players in conference realignment, it’s understandable why a conference would be upset that the channel they worked to create isn’t getting any play on satellite. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see if there’s enough interest in the network for fans to follow suit. And if DirecTV would crack if the campaign actually did enough to put a dent in their subscriptions.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?