NBC Sunday Night Football’s best feature could be coming to a Conference USA game near you.
According to the Bowling Green Daily News, frustrations are growing around the league regarding their current media rights deal. Much of the issue has to do with money of course. But there are plenty of other avenues CUSA is looking at changing to in order to become more competitive on the field and in the broadcast booth.
One idea discussed at winter meetings recently? Flex scheduling coming to college football.
“We talked about what the NFL does, flex scheduling,” Western Kentucky Athletic Director Todd Stewart told the paper. “They get a better inventory two weeks out instead of trying to pick ahead of time. We wanted to do that with everybody and all schools agreed to that. Hypothetically, if you have two teams in November and first place in the division is on the line, that doesn’t need to be on a streamed game. That needs to be on one of our platforms. Two teams at the bottom of the division that aren’t going to make a bowl game, doesn’t need to be on one of our partners and that’s something we need to work towards.”
While fans may instantly think of games moving around on the calendar, that’s not exactly what Conference USA is looking at doing. While a North Texas-Western Kentucky game won’t move from Week 6 to Week 9 for example, the conference appears to be exploring the broadcast options for the contest going from being streamed on Facebook to being televised on NFL Network for example.
While such moves are somewhat common at their peer leagues, that’s not common practice for CUSA. A 12- or six-day window for the TV selection to be known is a regular occurrence for schools in the Pac-12, Big Ten and the like. Taking the opposite approach, CUSA announced their slate of NFL Network games in May and didn’t change them even if teams became uncompetitive or had better matchups elsewhere on the docket.
It sounds as though that could be changing however. We’ll see if flex scheduling ultimately comes to the 2020 season in the league but it seems frustrations over the current framework will certainly be leading to changes down the road.