ESPN U a tease for FAMU

Under the new leadership of head football coach Joe Taylor, Rattler pride has been restored. It’s obvious that his values, insights and concepts about life as well as hands-on coaching style are respected both on and off the field by his players.This makes fans eager to see his impact. If making it to the games poses an issue, the Internet based program, FamCast, makes viewing possible. It also provides a live stream via the World Wide Web. Whether home or away, FamCast has fans covered.HBCU game coverage is enhanced by FamCast. It seems as if a lot of major networks, like CBS or ABC, overlook historically black colleges because they’re not familiar with HBCU culture. FamCast gives FAMU the exposure and provides coverage, no matter what.This season started off great for FamCast. Everything was running smoothly until ESPN-U crept into the picture.  At the second game of the season, FamCast was strapped and ready to roll live at Delaware State until they were stopped dead in their tracks.  The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, MEAC, signed a ludicrous contract that gave exclusive broadcast rights to ESPN-U. Talk about pulling the plug. The terms of the contract prevents other networks, including FamCast, from airing video within a 48-to-72-hour time frame of the live game. There are three games out of FAMU’s regular football season where our own university production, Enterprise Information Technology Department, is not allowed to stream live video to FAMU’s Web site. So once everyone finds out the scores and highlights of the game through various sources, FamCast and others like FAMU-TV 20 are later permitted to air the footage. Why not just watch the game on ESPN-U you ask? Well for starters, ESPN-U is not included in Comcast channel programming in the Tallahassee area. Unless you have satellite you’re out of luck.This is definitely unacceptable on many different levels.  First of all, Tallahassee is a college town. Comcast should provide programming that suits the needs of college students.  If anything, customers should at least have the options of including ESPN-U or other programs in each individual cable package.Calling Comcast seeking answers proved quite tiresome. After being transferred to two departments, a Comcast representative reluctantly gave me the driest answers to my questions about why we don’t have ESPN-U.  At this time, he said, ESPN-U is unavailable.  I already knew that.  He later stated the company is in the process of negotiating for the channel, but no time frame has been set when we would receive ESPN-U. It’s unfair that fans and supporters of our university weren’t placed in consideration when decisions were made and implemented. FSU doesn’t have these problems, so why do we? We’re literally right down the road from each other, but are dealing with issues that effect FAMU fans worldwide. But there’s no need to feel abandoned, well at least not by the FAMU family. University staff has made arrangements to air ESPN-U covered games in Lee Hall Auditorium. But we need more than that.

Alicia Mitchell is a senior broadcast journalism from Port St. John, Fla. She can be reached at