ACC TV network still on course despite ESPN challenges

All signals are go for the ACC TV network to go live in 2019. That’s the word from John Swofford, commissioner of Atlantic Coast Conference, regarding the future of the network. 

In a memo distributed Tuesday to ACC administrators, Swofford wrote:

“As you may have seen, some of the so-called ‘experts’ on social media, in light of ESPN’s recently announced layoffs, have questioned whether the ACC’s linear network will launch.

“I write to let you know that I have had multiple conversations with John Skipper, as recently as this morning, and have total confirmation that the ACC/ESPN linear network is full speed ahead and unaffected by the aforementioned events at ESPN.”

His memo followed news from the University of Louisville Athletic Association about plans for an $8 million production studio by 2019 to help meet the school’s television broadcast needs. The new network will enable fans to tune in ACC games on their cable TV connections.

Currently numerous conference athletic events are being streamed live on ACC Extra, an online network available to users of the Internet. Users connect in a wide variety of ways, including Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire Stick devices.

Hopefully, the ACC, along with its member institutions, is flexible and prepared to deal with rapid changes in technology. ESPN, in particular, has been hard hit by losses in cable subscribers.

There will always be a market for actual ACC competition and games, as opposed to all the talking heads on radio and TV these days.



Bright lights time, Devin Hairston comes through again for UofL

The bright lights were on and so was Devin Hairston.

Bottom of the 10th, score tied, two outs, and the bright lights are on.

Freshman Justin Lavey perched on second base after getting hit by a pitch. Gotta get him home.

Dan McDonnell couldn’t be happier, seeing who’s coming to the plate, none other than Devin Hairston. Just a few days ago, the University of Louisville baseball coach was saying there was no one he would rather see when a game is on the line.

Problem was Hairston had gone into a mini slump since his coach had made the declaration. Brendan McKay and Drew Ellis had caught up with him in runs batted in. He had gone hitless in his four at-bats on Tuesday.

Looking like one of those extra inning affairs that could drag on all night.

But the bright lights are burning brightly, the game on the line. Devin Hairston was ready for the game to be done, taking things in hand, banging a 1-1 pitch into left field.

Lavey sliding into home just ahead of the ball. Game over. UofL winning 6-5 over Miami of Ohio.

The win was Louisville’s 39th against only six losses, in front of a crowd of 1,724 at Jim Patterson Stadium. Hairston making his coach look good again. 

Lots of help from Devin Mann, with two hits, three runs batted; Brendan McKay with a solo home run, his 13th homers; Drew Ellis with a couple of double, and Lavey with the other run batted in.

Bright lights, indeed.

Kade McClure grooving again, UofL thumps Toledo

Kade McClure was back to his old self Saturday, the big right hander yielding only six hits and one run as the University of Louisville baseball team kayoed Toledo 11-1.

Seven days ago McClure had struggled mightily against Duke, giving up three hits, two walks, and a hit batsman, watching four runs crossing the plate in the fourth inning before getting the hook.  The only good thing in that two-run victory was that he was the winning pitcher.

He would allow only six batters to reach base in his most recent outing, improving his won-lost record to 5-1 before a crowd of 1,746 at Jim Patterson Stadium. The win enhanced UofL’s record to 37-6 

The decisive hit in this one coming in the third inning, courtesy of third baseman Tyler Fitzgerald’s bases-loaded single two runs across the plate. Drew Ellis would hit his team-leading 13th home run in the fourth inning, the baseball sailing high over the left field fence.

Two home runs for Josh Stowers, powering UofL past Toledo

Josh Stowers got the first and second home runs in his career in the win over Toledo.

Josh Stowers has exhibited some power during his first season as a starter with the University of Louisville baseball team. Lots of long balls but many of them for long outs, not reflecting his true potential.

He could not have picked a better day than Friday to take his game to another level, on a day when UofL was struggling in the opening game of a three-game series with Toledo.

The 6-foot sophomore outfielder from Chicago would combine for two powerful home runs over the left field wall to power Louisville to a razor thin 5-4 win over the Rockets. 

The first one, a solo blast, coming in the fifth inning with UofL trailing 4-0. He would follow that up with a towering home run over the same wall in the seventh inning, driving three runs, to tie the score at 4-4.

That would set the stage for a sacrifice fly to right center bye Drew Ellis in the eighth inning, sending Devin Hairston home with the winning run.

The home runs were the first and second for Stowers in his collegiate career.

Nobody was happier for Stowers than left hander Brendan McKay, who won his first game in his past four tries, improving his won-lost record to 6-3. The win improved UofL record to 36-6.

Stowers was last seen with Dan McDonnell’s game-winning T-shirt award, with the No. 36 for the 36th win, hanging over his shoulder. 

Keep Papa John under control at UofL board meetings

John Schnatter went a couple of hours without saying a word, at least during the public portion of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees meeting this week. Not easy for someone accustomed to being treated as near royalty in his hometown. 

And it was quite a contrast from a week before when he exhibited little self control, ranting about the UofL athletic department and another expansion of Cardinal Stadium. 

One wonders why Schnatter had reason to be upset? The athletic department has bent over backward to keep the Pizza magnate happy. Setting aside a special place for him to land his helicopter during football games at Cardinal Stadium. Allowing him to race his 1971 Camaro into the complex, wheels spinning, burning rubber. The football program also allowing him to completely cover the roof of the Brown & Williamson Club with the Papa John’s logo.

Interim President Greg Postel and Chairman David Grissom have their hands full already, even without John Schnatter’s antics.

Schnatter’s demeanor during the recent board meeting makes one suspect that someone may have finally denied him one of his outlandish wishes. Some sources believe his antagonism could date back to the second phase of the stadium expansion, possibly some special concessions on the party deck. 

Schnatter’s ego apparently knows no bounds. Would anyone be surprised if his next big request had been a sculpture of Papa John on the party deck? Making a special delivery no doubt. Not out of the question. He lives in a virtual castle and he referred to the football facility as “My stadium” during the board meeting. 

The strained look on his face during the trustees’ meeting made it appear as though he had been asked to remain quiet. This at a time when the University of Louisville is in need of positive reinforcement and constructive leadership. Had to be really difficult for him to hear Interim President Greg Postel describe Tom Jurich’s great success with the athletic program and assurance that the stadium expansion is well within budget.

Someone had obviously gotten to Schnatter, letting him know that his ranting was out of line, making him look foolish, embarrassing his fellow board members. This coming a day before it was announced that Schnatter had resigned from the board of the UofL Athletic Association and had been immediately replaced by university trustee James Rogers.

A long-time member of the University community, who wishes to remain unnamed, sees the fine hand of Trustees’ Chairman J. David Grissom at work in Schnatter’s resignation.

“It is not Schnatter’s style to resign for the good of the organization,” said the source. “My guess is that Grissom took him off the board because Schnatter is unpredictable in his rhetoric. Why else would another board appointment be made so quickly?

“This may have been one reason for the closed session at the Trustees’ meeting. Grissom does not want the wrath of Tom Jurich’s many supporters. Running Tom off would be the biggest mistake made by anyone. 

“Grissom also will not tolerate any trustee speaking to the media without his approval. Remember Schnatter’s parting comment on Wednesday, words to the effect that Grissom has it under control.”

Presumably that means Grissom will not tolerate any misdirection or outbursts at future Trustee meetings, especially from John Schnatter.