USC Won't Be Seen on TV in Fall

Times Staff Writer

USC has given up its fight to get its football games on live television during the 1985 season.

The school will serve the second year of a two-year TV ban imposed by the NCAA in April, 1982, as a penalty for helping players sell game tickets, a violation of NCAA rules. The Trojans served the first year in the fall of 1983, but an NCAA moratorium on TV penalties allowed them to appear last year.

"We've exhausted all avenues for fighting it," Virg Lubberden, USC associate athletic director, said Tuesday. "We will have to accept the NCAA ruling and take our lumps."

The Trojans will be eligible to appear on television if they go to a bowl game, but regular-season games will not be televised live. A possible exception might be a regular-season game with Oregon in the Mirage Bowl at Tokyo Dec. 1., but that game, still in the planning stage, would probably be tape-delayed anyway.

The TV ban will cost USC between $900,000 and $1 million, Lubberden said. As a member of the Pacific 10, the school will still get a share of the television revenue earned by the conference--about $300,000--but it could earn as much as $1.3 million without a TV ban.

CBS paid $1 million for the USC-Notre Dame game last season, the highest rights fee earned by any regular-season game during 1984. This year's game, Oct. 26, at South Bend, Ind., cannot be televised.

That means the ban will cost Notre Dame $500,000 as well. Other USC opponents, such as UCLA and Washington, will also lose large amounts.

The original penalty levied by the NCAA against USC covered three seasons. The Trojans were ineligible for a bowl appearance after the 1982 and '83 seasons and were banned from TV appearances in 1983 and '84.

When the Trojans did not appear on television in 1983, the school lost about $1 million in TV revenue. They were able to appear on TV in 1984 after the NCAA had temporarily lost control of college football telecasts. Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a 1982 ruling against the NCAA by Juan Burciaga, a federal district judge.

At that time, USC challenged the NCAA's authority to impose a TV sanction. The NCAA, in effect, then granted USC a year's grace on the ban, pending clarification by the courts, and allowed the Trojans' games to be televised.

The Supreme Court asked Burciaga to clarify certain aspects of his original ruling, including whether the NCAA could impose TV bans. Burciaga then ruled last November that it could.

Even then, USC officials were hopeful of somehow getting their games on live TV. That ray of hope apparently disappeared in the last few weeks.

Peter Lund, president of CBS Sports, said that when his network was negotiating a new contract with the Pacific 10 and Big Ten in November and December, it was assumed that USC would not be a participant.

CBS reached a two-year agreement with the two conferences that will pay $8.5 million in 1985 and $10 million in 1986. CBS, in separate deals, will pay the Atlantic Coast Conference $3.5 million over the next two seasons for the rights to at least 14 games during that period, will pay the University of Miami (Fla.) $2.05 million over two seasons for rights to at least three games, and will pay $675,000 a season for the rights to the next two Army-Navy games.

Lund said that USC's assumed ineligibility had not adversely affected the amount the network agreed to pay the Pac-10 and Big Ten conferences.

"I don't mean to demean USC in any way, since it is a great football institution, but no single school can have a great effect on an overall package," he said. "We still have other games to televise. Sure, we would rather have USC-Notre Dame and USC-UCLA, but not having those games won't affect the overall rating for the season more than a tenth of a point or so."

Three other Pac-10 and Big Ten schools, Arizona, Illinois and Wisconsin, are also ineligible for TV appearances in 1985.

Arizona elected to serve the first year of a two-year ban last season and will serve the second this season. Illinois and Wisconsin both will be serving the first year of two-year bans.

Lund said that the ineligibility of four teams was probably in the back of everybody's mind during negotiations, but that the issue was not addressed directly.

The two conferences got $8 million from CBS in 1984.

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