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TV or not TV
Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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BYU is not alone; Pac-12 schools take marching orders from TV, too

One of Utah's Pac-12 foes, Arizona State, has announced a "tentative" plan that would turn Sun Devil Stadium into something that looks like a cross between a soccer venue and an enormous spaceship. According to the university, the revamping "would create a shade canopy over the stadium that will allow the passage of natural light and the passage of air into the stadium."

Why go to all that trouble? Why reduce the capacity of your stadium from 71,000 to "between 55,000 and 65,000 seats"? Why not just keep playing night games to avoid the torrid Arizona heat?

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Because the the canopy is designed to allow the Sun Devils "to play day games earlier in the year to accommodate Pac-12 Network obligations."

What? Are you telling us that television dictates game times? That even a member of the "conference of champions" has to bow to TV programmers?

Absolutely.

It's analogous to the situation BYU found itself in last fall when fans had to brave the cold for night games in November because times were dictated by ESPN.

There were those around here - and you know who you are - who argued that late starts in November were proof that BYU was just a pawn in ESPN's game. That moving kickoff times was a sign that the Cougars were somehow second-class citizens.

Here's the thing - EVERY college in the nation does what its TV partners want it to do. EVERY college.

Whether you're an independent or a member of a BCS conference, you don't have complete autonomy because of your television contracts.

You can still argue about whether being independent is such a great thing. Whether it's a longterm solution, a stop along the way or the road to oblivion.

But playing a late game in Provo in November does not prove anything one way or the other.

By the way, that could happen again at least once this season. The TV schedule isn't out yet, but Cougars do have an Nov. 10 home game against Idaho.

Haven't heard anything from Provo about covering LaVell Edwards Stadium, however.



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