Pay-TV to air Notre Dame-Penn State Contract bars ABC from national feed


The Notre Dame-Penn State game Nov. 16 will be offered on pay-per-view cable in a national test of the potentially lucrative pay-TV market, the College Football Association and Notre Dame said yesterday.

"We know that it will occur. We just don't know the details yet," Susan Hiller, communications director for the CFA in Boulder, Colo., said.

At the same time, ABC, which has broadcast rights to the game under its contract with the CFA, said there was a chance the deal could fall through.

"We're on a holding pattern right now," ABC Sports spokesman Mark Mandel said. "We had hoped to know by now if it was feasible, but we don't. We hope to know in the next day or so."

ABC will televise the game regionally to about 50 percent of the country. The other regional games will be Big Ten and Pacific-10 conference contests.

ABC's contract with the CFA precludes televising the Notre Dame-Penn State game nationally, despite the game's significance.

Notre Dame-Penn State would be available on pay-per-view to those areas not receiving it on free TV. It would be distributed through Showtime Entertainment Television.

About 18 million of 93.6 million television households are equipped for pay-per-view. Revenues from pay-per-view sports could exceed $700 million annually within a few years, according to some estimates.

* AUBURN: An attorney for coach Pat Dye accused a former player and his lawyer of creating a "media mirage" by releasing portions of secretly recorded tapes, and called on them to release all the tapes to the NCAA.

But the attorney for former defensive back Eric Ramsey said the school should not be eager for all the tapes to be released.

Sam Franklin of Birmingham, Ala., Dye's attorney, said Watkins is undermining the effectiveness of the NCAA investigation by releasing only some of the tapes.

This, "without extending full access to all tapes to the NCAA and Auburn, eliminates the chance for verification of the tapes," Franklin said at a news conference.

Donald Watkins, Ramsey's attorney, has released two batches of tapes to the Birmingham News. The tapes allegedly indicate that Ramsey received illegal payments from an Auburn booster and assistant coaches.

Watkins also said he will release a final set of tapes that contain conversations between Dye and Ramsey within two weeks.

* Florida State linebacker Marvin Jones became the first sophomore in the 22-year history of the Lombardi Award nominated as a finalist for the honor, given annually to the nation's top collegiate lineman or linebacker. The other finalists are defensive tackles Santana Dotson of Baylor and Steve Emtman of Washington and offensive tackle Greg Skrepenak of Michigan. The award will be presented Dec. 5.

* CLEMSON: Coach Ken Hatfield said no disciplinary action will be taken immediately against two reserve linebackers facing criminal charges. He said the university will wait until its own investigation is completed.

Roderick M. Adams, 19, of Cordele, Ga., and Timothy Leon Jones, 20, of Rock Hill, S.C., were charged with assault and battery in connection with a weekend scuffle. Adams faces two counts and Jones one count, the school said.

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