By M. Grant Winston, Managing Editor

March Madness has been very hard to watch up to this point for anyone who uses a TV antenna. Only a few games are available that way. This year, it was not only early round games relegated to cable TV, but two Elite Eight games on March 29. Florida vs. Dayton and Arizona vs. Wisconsin were unavailable over the air. This makes no sense. Regular Saturday evening programming is no ratings bonanza, but the games are. They are the highest rated programs during the month of March.

I and many others refuse to spend our hard-earned money on cable TV. It is an outrageous rip-off full of garbage programs we would never watch in a million years, and is just as full of commercials as broadcast television. Charging subscribers and advertisers too is double dipping. I have tried to watch the games that aren't on real TV over the Internet, but that is a pain. My two cans and a string Internet connection keeps buffering and dropping. Sometimes my browser even crashes, and it says "technical foul". Ha Ha. I am not really laughing. If that weren't enough, it is constant nagging me to log in to my TV provider, and threatening to cut me off if I don't. This happened during tonight's Arizona vs. Wisconsin game. I had been watching online, but was kicked off when my guest pass expired. I missed the overtime! Uncoveror's Sports Editor, Ralph Hutchinson showed me a replay after it was done, and then I saw that last second shot attempt that would have been too late anyway, but I wanted to see it live! I feel like I was robbed.

Sports on television are increasingly becoming a privilege of cable subscribers only. Not only does this deny sports fans access to what we enjoy so much, but denies advertisers what they crave: an audience. Advertisers who were denied the mass audience they could have gotten with a free over-the-air broadcast, and had to settle for the smaller cable and satellite audience should be even angrier than fans. They lost an opportunity to try to sell us something.

Who was ultimately responsible for the decision to put Elite Eight games on cable only? Was it that CBS couldn't be bothered, or that TBS offered more money? I suspect the latter, and am blaming the NCAA. They make billions per year televising college sports, and what do the athletes we all tune in to watch, the ones really putting on the show get? Nothing. They would be blackballed, and their college careers over if they accepted so much as a cent, or even a gift with a value as little as a cent. Why can't they be rewarded with some of the wealth they created? That is another matter for another time, but still worth mentioning. I recommend that anyone else mad like I am should call and write CBS, the NCAA and TBS over this outrage. I am old enough to vaguely remember the football game NBC cut off to show a movie called Heidi, and how my dad screamed and yelled. Now, they have Heidied my basketball game!


The Elite Eight was not the Final Insult. Saturday's Final Four games are only on TBS, not CBS. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Time to let them know we are mad about this!