Known as “The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” ESPN, the popular sports television broadcast network owned by Disney, televised four University basketball games this season through the affiliate channel ESPNU and ESPN Full Court.
The Lady Rattlers’ 70-58 victory over the University of Maryland Eastern Shore on Jan. 20 at Princess Anne, Md., and the men’s 90-82 loss to North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C., was shown on ESPNU.
Losses versus ranked opponents University of Florida and Pittsburgh were shown on ESPN Full Court. ESPNU is owned by ESPN and specializes in college sports, broadcasting regional college games throughout the country.
ESPNU cannot be seen locally on Comcast, but it can be seen on satellite such as Direct TV or at different sports bars throughout Tallahassee.
After being the only team in the Mid-Eastern Athletic
Conference left off last season’s televised schedule and only getting one road game appearance on this year’s schedule, the Rattlers feel they are getting overlooked by ESPN and the MEAC.
“From what I understand, the commissioner’s office of the MEAC and ESPN decides who gets to play on TV,” said Gillespie Jr. the men’s assistant basketball coach.
According to Sports Information, the MEAC has a contract with ESPN and FAMU has no control over when they get to play on ESPNU.
Funds from the games are split up by the conference between the 11 schools in the MEAC.
Gillespie mentioned that one of the advantages to playing on ESPN is showcasing the program.
“Recruits are able to watch to see the playing atmosphere and our style of play whether they are in New York or California,” Gillespie said.
While playing at North Carolina A&T, the coaching staff found themselves trying to gear the players down because they were so hyped up for the game.
“A&T is a tough place to play because of the hostile environment,” Gillespie said.
“They have a tough crowd that gets on the guys by yelling obscenities which gets our guys pumped up.”
After losing to A&T, the Rattlers felt they should have taken a different approach to the game.
Despite the men losing to A&T in their only ESPNU showcase, two players made Sports Center’s daily segment of top 10 plays.
Junior guard E.J. Maul made an acrobatic layup while getting fouled, and senior Brian Greene’s block denied an A&T opponent attempting a field goal.
The Lady Rattlers were excited about playing in front of a national audience and took advantage of their only televised showing of the year.
Sophomore guard Deidra Jones said the audience motivated her and her teammates to step their game up a notch.
“Our team displayed a good showing, which was important because we knew a lot of people were watching being that most of the team is from out-of-state, and their families were able see them play, which they don’t get to see that often,” Jones said.
Head coach Debra Clark saw the opportunity as a way for the department to get exposure for recruiting.
“People are able to find out about our program, and it creates opportunities,” said Clark. “It would be nice to get one next year so we can get even more exposure.”