But when his sport peaks during the N.C.A.A. men's tournament, he is not at a regional site calling a game, but in an ESPN studio breathlessly dissecting bracketology. He has, in fact, never announced an N.C.A.A. tournament game. CBS Sports wanted to remedy that omission by borrowing him for one or two games next week, but in late February, ESPN rejected the bid to share him.
Vitale is deemed indispensable by ESPN, even if CBS would have let him file reports to ESPN from the games' locations.
"Vitale is our signature voice, and not to have him here would be a mistake," said Norby Williamson, an ESPN executive vice president, citing Vitale's ubiquitous role on various ESPN programs and ESPN.com. "What he provides here you just cannot replicate, with his energy, his enthusiasm and his knowledge. Our first obligation is to our viewers."