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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

September 20, 2012 at 11:35 AM

To the Pac-12 and DirecTV: Zip it

Maybe I’m getting irritable because I have DirecTV – and thus, I don’t have the Pac-12 Networks available to me – but is anybody else getting tired of the ongoing, public feud between the Pac-12 and DirecTV over their failure to come to an agreement that would add 20 million potential viewing homes to the Networks?

To both sides, I say: Zip it, until you can come back to us with news of an agreement.

Recapping: Late in August, just as it seemed the two sides were getting close to an agreement, something happened and it fell through. Each side issued a statement, the Pac-12 suggesting viewers find “Pac-12 Networks with another television provider,” and DirecTV returning serve by saying, essentially, that it already carries a ton of college football.

Then this week, the Pac-12 issued another update, touting “another fantastic weekend” of football just played (I guess the league’s yardstick for fantastic is different from mine).

The league says it has “been hearing from tens of thousands” of frustrated fans and DirecTV is “refusing to reach a fair agreement.” It says the deal offered to DirecTV is “fundamentally similar” to those already accepted by its providers in the fold, and that DirecTV’s claim that games on the Networks are not of interest is “absurd.”

DirecTV, meanwhile, comes back with this statement on its website, in part: “Pac-12 continues to demand a significant price that would force all of our customers to still pay for this channel whether they want it or not.” DirecTV said if the league were to be “more reasonable,” an agreement could be reached.

DirecTV is holding to the notion that its volume of games swamps the number on the Pac-12 Networks, and that so far, the Networks haven’t featured any games between ranked teams while DirecTV has. That’s a pretty vapid contention; Oregon State is the first team out of the AP Top 25 this week. If it were 25th, would its matchup with 19th-rated UCLA suddenly be vastly more enthralling than it is right now? (that game is on ABC/ESPN2, by the way.)

Gary Stevenson, president of Pac-12 Enterprises, said recently the league wasn’t willing to discuss details of what it’s charging providers. That’s understandable. It’s also understandable that neither side wants to go public with what its demands are.

Fine. Until then, spare us the anguish. This isn’t a political campaign, it’s a negotiation. Get back to us when you’ve got it settled.

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