The Southeastern Conference has gone to CBS and, according to officials on all sides of the bidding, the Big East Conference will follow as early as Tuesday. In other words, the College Football Association as a television entity is dead.
The events of Friday illustrated how rapidly the CFA, which assembled the current five-year, $300 million deal with ABC and ESPN that will expire next year, lost its mandate.SEC commissioner Roy Kramer announced Friday morning that his league had made a deal with CBS for five years of football, beginning in 1996, and seven years of men's and women's basketball, beginning next season. The league will receive approximately $95 million from CBS and expects to sells its cable football rights for another $25-$30 million.
"This agreement will greatly enhance the national exposure of the member institutions, as well as our conference football and basketball programs," Kramer said in a prepared statement.
The contract calls for CBS to show 10 conference and two non-conference football games annually. In men's basketball, the network will televise two conference and four non-conference games next season. In the following six seasons, CBS will show five of each. The SEC basketball tournament final will appear on CBS from 1997-2001.
Negotiations for the SEC Football Championship may not begin until after the 1995 game. ABC will televise the next two.
CBS also committed 16 "appearances" to SEC women's basketball. An appearance refers to one team in a game; i.e., a Vanderbilt-Tennessee telecast would provide two SEC appearances. The SEC will get nearly 40 percent of the 21 women's basketball games, or 42 appearances, CBS plans to show over the next seven years.
"It's not just a television agreement. It's an alliance," CBS Sports vice president Len DeLuca said. "What we're able to do is showcase `the SEC on CBS' and cover the SEC as part of our football and basketball from September through March."
CFA executive director Chuck Neinas said in a prepared statement Friday that his membership is "disappointed" to lose the SEC. "But that is the prerogative of their members," he said. "The CFA will move with dispatch to determine the preference of the remaining members relative to a future television plan."
"I think when the SEC pulled out, that was the end of it (CFA)," said Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, a member of the CFA television committee. He added that a committee meeting scheduled for Monday in Dallas to present a last-minute bid to the Big East to stay with the CFA would be useless.
CBS has offered the Big East between $55 million and $60 million for its football and basketball for five seasons beginning in 1996.