Good morning. It’s Thursday, August 18, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Is the infamous “death penalty” at hand? This week’s Yahoo! report on a barrage of infractions at the University of Miami that include cash, prostitutes, jewelry, and more from a former booster has ACC officials as well as the NCAA on edge. While some columnists are calling for a complete shutdown of the football program, i.e. the death penalty, ACC officials are hoping for a lighter sentence, particularly if the school cleans house (although most of the incriminated names are long gone). That said, one athletic director suggested that a loss of Miami football would create ripples throughout the NCAA and could potentially affect the conference’s TV deal with ESPN. Whether this alters any realignment plans for the schools remains unknown. The NCAA responded to the report by stating that they have been investigating Miami for the past five months.
NASCAR appears set to get the marketing machine known as Danica Patrick. ESPN is reporting that the driver will formally announce her move next week to NASCAR as a full-time driver for the 2012 season, driving in the 2012 Nationwide Series for JR Motorsport and in select Sprint Cup races for Stewart-Haas Racing before shifting full-time to Stewart-Haas in 2012.
This week, NFL on Fox is set to wrap up its preseason coverage with some familiar faces. The Eagles/Steelers game tonight at 8p will feature Fox NFL Sunday co-host Terry Bradshaw joining the broadcast booth with Joe Buck,Troy Aikman and reporter Pam Oliver. Friday’s Falcons/Jaguars match at 8p will be find Fox NFL Sunday analysts Michael Strahan and Jimmy Johnson joining Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and on-field analyst Tony Siragusa for the game.
NFL Network is readying for the premiere of America’s Game: 2010 Green Bay Packers which will debut on Sept. 7 at 9p. The series will relive the team’s championship season with “Mad Men” actor John Slattery narrating the hour-long special. The channel will also feature a doubleheader of preseason action on Saturday, kicking off at 8p with a Satins/Texans matchup followed at 11p by the Vikings/Seahawks.
NBC’s Sunday Night Football is set to kick off its preseason schedule this Sunday at 8p with a Cowboys/Chargers game. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will have the call from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with Michele Tafoya making her NBC debut handling the sideline reporting duties.
FOX College Football play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson, analyst Charles Davis and sideline analyst Tim Brewster are going on tour and will visit a dozen campuses around the country to offer fans a 24/7, behind-the-scenes look at the schools they will be covering this season. The tour kicked off at Nevada and continues at Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma and Tulsa.
ESPN is reuniting play-by-play voice Brad Nessler and NFL studio analyst Trent Dilfer to call the second game of the MNF doubleheader on Sept. 12. That game will feature the Raiders/Broncos, and is set for 10:15p. Both commentators also paired up a year ago to call the Chargers-Chiefs season-opener.
The Fox Saturday Baseball Game of the Week is set to feature a trio of matchups on Saturday at 4p, led by the Cardinals/Cubs game in 47% of the country with Josh Lewin and Mark Grace calling the shots. Other games include Brewers/Mets in 45% of the nation with Matt Vasgersian, Tim McCarver and Ken Rosenthal behind the mics. Finally, the Reds/Pirates game will be seen the rest of the viewers with Dick Stockton and Mitch Williams handling the call.
NBC Sports and Universal Sports are set to continue their gymnastics coverage with 13 hours of programming from the Visa Championships, USA Gymnastics’ national championships, this week from the XL Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Coverage begins on Universal Sports this Thursday at 8p, with NBC Sports carrying primetime coverage of the women’s final day competition on Saturday at 8p and taped coverage of the men’s final day coverage on Sunday at 4:30p. NBC’s Olympic gymnastics broadcasting team of Al Trautwig, Tim Daggett, Elfi Schlegel and Andrea Joyce will call the competition for both outlets.
CBS Sports hits the weekend with coverage of the Wyndham Championship, the last event of the PGA Tour’s regular-season, with coverage on Saturday and Sunday from 3-6p. Bill Macatee and Ian Baker-Finchare in line to provide commentary from the 18th tower with Gary McCord calling the play from the 17th tower and Peter Kostis at the 16th hole.
ESPN has tapped Josina Anderson as a Chicago-based bureau reporter where she will cover the NFL, NBA and other sports for the company. Anderson previously worked as sports weekend co-anchor/reporter/producer for FOX 31 in Denver where she produced the nightly sportscasts and covered the Broncos, Nuggets, Avalanche, and Rockies.
3D Network 3net, a joint venture from Sony, Discovery and IMAX, is partnering with Red Bull Media House North America (to bring Red Bull’s content and programming U.S. television audiences. Programming will include free ride mountain biking competition Red Bull Rampage as well as original short-form 3D content developed around the 2010 US Open of Surfing.
Sportsman Channel is launching Sportsman On Demand on DIRECTV CINEMA that will feature original content available only on the On Demand platform. The platform will refresh content every two weeks with seasonal and regional content consisting of both short-form and long-form content from the linear channel and original productions.
ESPN STAR Sports has renewed its broadcast rights to the 2011 Rugby World Cup across Asia. The tournament will run to air in September and October, with the outlet broadcasting all 48 matches during the six week period.
EA Sports, ESPN.com and SportsNation are launching a promotion designed to give fans the chance to make their voices heard for the upcoming Madden NFL 12 videogame. At midnight on Monday, August 22, fans can log onto ESPN.com to vote for the five athletes that will be bestowed the coveted 100 rating in five distinct Madden NFL 12 categories in a campaign entitled Club 100. Categories include: Throw Accuracy, Elusiveness, Hit Power, Spectacular Catch and Speed with the winning athlete in each category announced on SportsNation on Friday, August 26.
The US Open has announced some highlights for this year’s tournament, which will include marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a special tribute at Arthur Ashe Stadium, with the inscription “9-11-01″ written on the hard wood during the event will crown its men’s and women’s champions. The tournament will also unveil its new show court in Court 17, consisting of full television capabilities, state-of-the-art video screens, and the Chase Review electronic line calling system. All match play on this court will be part of the organization’s live streaming and mark the sixth television court for the tournament.
DirecTV is expanding its NFL Sunday Ticket service, announcing that the NFL game package will now be available to fans by using the PlayStation 3 console, even those who can’t get DirecTV. The company will also continue to make games available via mobile platforms that include Motorola’s XOOM and Samsung Galaxy tablets; Motorola’s Android phones; the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry devices with 3G or wifi, Palm Pre/Pixi, and other Droid-branded phones. The company is partnering with NFL.com to launch an NFL.com Fantasy Football TV app that will allow NFL.com fantasy players with connected set-top boxes the opportunity to view their NFL.com Fantasy Football teams and scores directly on their TV screen while watching every game every Sunday afternoon on DirecTV.
Soccer’s oldest tournament is about to become Facebook’s newest toy. The FA Cup will be shown live on Facebook with a preliminary round between Ascot United and Wembley squaring off on Friday.
Online video services provider Ooyala has reportedly inked a deal with ESPN.com to power their video streams.
The Main Event
Two powerhouses square off as the Eagles/Steelers play in an NFL preseason game tonight at 8p on Fox.
ON THIS DAY in 1964: South Africa is banned from Olympic Games because of the country’s apartheid policies
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: Kentucky has won the most SEC men’s basketball tournaments. Who has won the second most? Lots of answers today but the correct one stumped ya! It’s Alabama with 6. Kudos: Carol Teichman – Comcast Spotlight/Bloomfield; Synda Kollman – Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Tom Moore – Kalt Productions/LA
In The Know: From which school was Trent Dilfer drafted? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)
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