When a WSU hoops TV broadcast...isn't

ANY COUGAR DISH CUSTOMERS out there worried about a repeat blackout of the Cougs vs. Gonzaga on TV? There you were this past Saturday night, basking in the glow of WSU's football win over Arizona, settling in for the late night WSU-Lamar hoops game. This was why you switched to DISH and the Pac-12 Networks -- to be able to see these Coug games. Alas, you tuned to the hoops game and got… zilch.

Well, not exactly zilch, you did receive a figurative kick to the groin. The Cougar basketball game was not being televised.

There was eventually a stream available from the Pac-12 website through your TV provider authenticated logon but that didn't start until around 10 p.m. and was joined in progress -- so CougFans missed much of the first half. And for good measure, the stream was plagued by technical difficulties the rest of the way, making it all but unwatchable in spots.

First of all, rest easy. The WSU-Gonzaga game, Cougfan.com has been assured, will indeed be televised tonight on DISH, (Root Sports, 6:00 p.m.)

But as for the WSU-Lamar game… What the hell. ‘I switched to DISH and the Pac-12 Networks for this?!'

Cougfan.com made some calls and from what we were able to piece together from various sources, here's what happened.

DISH evidently runs into capacity issues, especially on busy sports weekends. And DISH made the decision late last week not to televise the WSU-Lamar game. And that's the other problem here -- someone dropped the ball in communicating that to Cougar Nation, so CougFans had no idea it wouldn't be on TV until they flipped the channel over to the Pac-12 Networks at game time.

As for the stream and picking the game up in progress, the Pac-12 Networks' Kirk Reynolds tells CF.C they are obligated to televise football games across the seven networks, the only exception being when there are multiple football games sharing the same time window. The general programming rule is to stick with a football game until it is complete. When the OSU-ASU game went longer than the three hour allotment, a slam-dunk certainty as no college football game these days runs three hours or less, it meant the WSU-Lamar game would not be offered as a stream until the football game was over.

Reynolds is a good guy and we got the feeling this one was beyond the Pac-12 Networks' ability to control. It was an unfortunate and rare set of circumstances, Reynolds says.

Hope so, because those CougFans who responded to the passionate requests from Larry Scott, WSU, Bill Moos, DISH and the Pac-12 Networks deserve better after having made the switch. Many of these CougFans went through the hassle of moving to another carrier in DISH solely so they could receive the Pac-12 Networks. At the very least, they should have been informed by Friday that the game was not going to be televised on DISH.

That said, it's the first time this has happened as far as I can recall in the 1 ½ years of the Pac-12 Networks' existence. And if you're going to have a hoops game blacked out this season, WSU-Lamar might be the one you'd choose. So CougFans are probably willing to let it slide this one time. Once.

But let's also get this out of the way too: Yank any upcoming non-conference game of the Cougs again this season, or God forbid a conference game, and the ensuing outcry would be pronounced.

  • Ernie Kent, the former Oregon coach turned TV analyst, continues to grow on us. Towards the end of the WSU-Lamar stream by the Pac-12 Networks, play-by-play man Rich Waltz apologized for the technical difficulties. Kent offered to fix it. "Let's go! Give me a wrench! Give me some duct tape!" he quipped.

  • The next Pac-12 Networks broadcast of a WSU hoops game is Nov. 24 at 3 p.m. when the Cougs host TCU.

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