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Fox Caves to Pressure of Bruin Nation

Coach Howland voiced his displeasure his morning about the UCLA game against Oregon State not being on TV. The discussion has been raging all day in our blog here and elsewhere in the Bruin online communities. Today Fox caved. From Diane Pucin:

Fox Sports reversed course today and announced that Thursday's UCLA at Oregon State men's basketball game will be televised by FSN Prime Ticket at 7 p.m.

The Bruins, undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country, are making their first Pacific-10 Conference road trip of the season. The conference and Fox have a national television contract and last summer Fox decided Thursday's Pac-10 national television game would be Arizona-Washington at 7:30 p.m.

Earlier this week, UCLA asked Fox for a waiver so the Bruins-Beavers game could also be televised at least to the Southern California audience in the exclusive window. That request was denied and Oregon State declined to move the game to 5:30 p.m. and make the game eligible for television. On Tuesday, UCLA coach Ben Howland called the television situation "surprising and disappointing," and suggested, "we need to get this changed."

This afternoon, Fox Sports West communications director Jennifer Johnson said, "While we had selected the 20 UCLA games we would televise in October, when this week hit we looked and said, 'Gosh, this could be an opportunity.' We kind of had to scramble to get a crew. It's just the nature of the business."

Duane Lindberg, Pac-10 associate commissioner of electronic communications, said the conference had done the only thing it could do Tuesday when it requested the waiver from Fox.

"Did we want our conference team that is ranked No. 1 in the country on television? Yes," Lindberg said. "I wish it was that easy. We set up our conference television schedule in the summer. When we made the selection to choose Arizona-Washington, of course we did not know UCLA would be No. 1.

"This is going to be extremely expensive for Fox and to televise the game is totally their decision. We had no impact. Hopefully the local markets will show a lot of enthusiasm. But you want your No. 1 team broadcast so that there are highlights available to be shown around the country."

Only Southern California and part of Oregon will get the UCLA-Oregon State game. A Fox Northwest crew of play-by-play announcer Brian Davis and analyst Bob Weiss, a former NBA coach, will do the game.

"We're obviously very happy," UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins said.
We are stoked too. Thanks again to Coach Howland for taking charge on this issue. That's called leadership (something obviously missing from the football program). And thanks to all of you who sent emails and spoke up here on BN and elsewhere via the internets. No question it had an impact. Like I said yesterday when talking about Bruin expectations, times have changed.

Now let's just think about the game. Beavers could be a dangerous team.