Richmond Times-Dispatch

SEC leaving CBS for ABC in ’24

- Fromstaff and wire reports

The Southeaste­rn Conference’s signature mid-afternoon Saturday game will move from CBS to ABC starting in 2024 as part of a new 10year contract announced Thursday with ESPN and the powerhouse football league.

The deal makes ESPN the exclusive media rights holder of SEC football and men’s basketball, andwill end the conference’s relationsh­ip with CBS after three decades. CBS has been airing the league’s Saturday afternoon centerpiec­e game and football championsh­ip since 1996.

The SEC football championsh­ip game will also air on ABC.

The SEC and ESPN are already in the midst of a 20-year deal that includes a partnershi­p on the SEC Network. The new deal will line up so both will run through the 203334 sports season.

The difference in the new deal: The mid-afternoon game is less likely to be the SEC’s game of the week. For the first time, SEC games will be available for ABC’s Saturday prime-time slot.

The SEC’s contract with CBS was worth about $55 million per year to the conference. Sports Business Journal reported the new deal will be worth more than $300 million annually — an amount confirmed to The AP by a person familiar with the agreement on condition of anonymity because the value of the contract is private.

BC opts out of bowl game

Boston College, which managed to escape the worst of the coronaviru­s outbreak and the schedule and roster shuffling that has affected so many other college football teams, is passing on the opportunit­y to play in a bowl so players can spend Christmas with their families.

BC is the first school to forego the postseason because of the pandemic.

In other virus-related news:

♦ The regular season-ending game between No. 23 Texas and Kansas, which had already been pushed back to Saturday because of positive COVID-19 tests within the Jayhawks’ program, has now been canceled due to an outbreak among the Longhorns (6-3, 5-3). Kansas will finish 0-9, its second winless season since 2015. Prior to that, the Jayhawks hadn’t gone without a win since 1954.

♦ Texas Tech closed its football facility after eight members of the staff joined coach Matt Wells among those with positive tests for COVID-19. The season might not be over the Red Raiders (4-6) since all teams are eligible to participat­e in bowl games. In the Mid-American Conference, Miami (Ohio)’s game at Bowling Green was canceled.

♦ Washington’s game at Oregon was canceled after the Huskies fell below the required 53 scholarshi­p players available to play. The rivalry game would have determined the Pac-12 North champ and a spot in the conference title game. The game will be declared a no-contest, with the Huskies finishing atop the division.

♦ No. 13 Oklahoma will not play at West Virginia because of COVID19 issues with the Mountainee­rs.

ODAC targets Fridaygame­s

After deciding in July to postpone its fall sports season to the spring semester because of the coronaviru­s pandemic, the ODAC has now decided how it will conduct the most unique football season in its history: games on Friday nights. The abbreviate­d ODAC football season will kick off Feb. 26 and conclude April 2.

ODAC commission­er Brad Bankston said that Fridays will work better than Saturdays for the ODAC to make sure that a trainer, doctor and ambulance will be on site for the football games.

The ODAC is trying to squeeze its fall, winter and spring seasons into the spring semester.

♦ Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson has resigned to take over at Utah State. Arkansas State announced Anderson’s departure to take a head coaching position at another FBS school. A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press that Anderson was being hired by Utah State. In seven years with Arkansas State, Anderson won 51 games and won consecutiv­e Sun Belt titles in 2015 and ’16.

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