According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the Big Ten's next television deal will be with ABC/ESPN and… itself. A formal announcement is expected today, when the Big Ten holds a teleconference for the media at 10 a.m. Central. The league is expected to announce that it will continue its relationship with ABC/ESPN for prime conference events, such as football and men's basketball, but that it will also launch its own television channel that will debut next year.
The new channel, which will be available on DirecTV and could be negotiated into the packages offered by major cable providers, will air men's basketball and football games that are not broadcast on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, which could eliminate the local Big Ten broadcasts that are typically distributed to local network stations via ESPN Plus or ESPN Local.
Big Ten TV will also offer broadcasts of the many sports that are typically left behind by major sports television broadcasters, such as women's basketball, volleyball, wrestling, baseball and softball, all the while providing more exposure for the league.
Fox parent company News Corp. owns a major stake in DirecTV and will, according to the Tribune, "play a significant role in the operation and distribution" of Big Ten TV. News Corp., through Fox Interactive Media, owns Badger Nation and its parent network, Scout.com.
Brown, Detmer receive academic honors
University of Wisconsin athletes Nathan Brown and Joe Detmer have been named to the 2006 College Sports Information Directors of America/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team for men's track and field. Brown repeats as a member of the first team while Detmer moved up from the third team in 2005 to the second team in 2006. Brown is the first two-time first-team Academic All-American in men's track and field at Wisconsin.
Brown graduated in May with a 3.95 cumulative grade point average in biochemistry. He won the 2006 Big Ten Indoor title in the heptathlon and the 2006 Big Ten Outdoor title in the decathlon. Brown was honored as a 2006 NCAA post-graduate scholarship award winner, which he will use to attend medical school next fall. He was a 2005 CoSIDA first-team Academic All-American and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. Brown served as the president of the UW's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and was a student-athlete representative to the UW Athletic Board. He was a member of the dean's list for seven semesters and a two-time team captain.
Detmer has a 3.52 GPA in computer engineering and computer science. He earned third-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 2005 and is also a three-time athletic All-American. Detmer finished fourth in the decathlon at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships, scoring a personal best of 7,565 points. He also placed second in the decathlon at the 2006 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Detmer is a five-time member of the dean's list, a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and he also received the Donald E. Graves Engineering Scholarship in 2004-05.
In order to be eligible for Academic All-America honors, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale), must be a starter or important reserve and be in at least their second season of athletic and academic eligibility.
Thomas on Outland watch list
Joe Thomas, senior left tackle for the Wisconsin football team, has been named to the preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy, which annually goes to the nation's top interior lineman.
Thomas was a consensus All-Big Ten pick last season and a Pro Football Weekly first-team All-American.
He is also on the preseason watch list for the Lombardi Award.