|ESPNU College Football|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||210 minutes+|
|Original release||August 25, 2005 -|
ESPNU College Football is a broadcast of NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision and NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision college football on ESPNU. ESPNU College Football debuted on August 25, 2005 with a HBCU match-up between Benedict and Morehouse.
In addition to their live game coverage, ESPNU also has three weekly programs devoted to college football, which include ESPNU Inside the Polls on Monday at 6pm ET, ESPNU Coaches Spotlight on Tuesdays at 12pm ET and ESPNU Recruiting Insider on Fridays at 7:30pm ET.
ESPNU also aired coverage of special events such as the Steel City Classic and the Turkey Day Classic.
ESPNU College Football featured over 70 games from new conferences such as the Gateway and the Ivy League. ESPNU also lost the rights, in 2006, to broadcast teams from Conference USA, the Mountain West and the WAC.
In 2006, ESPNU began utilizing the 1st and Ten technology for select games.
Along with the Steel City Classic, ESPNU also showcased new special events in the Detroit Football Classic, Battle of the Bay and the Walt Disney World Florida Classic.
There was some controversy and criticism directed towards ESPN during the 2006 football season when the October 21, 2006 game between Indiana and Ohio State was broadcast exclusively on ESPNU, and was not available to be broadcast on local TV, even in the Columbus, Ohio and Bloomington, Indiana markets. Ohio State was undefeated and ranked #1 at the time Most fans considered Indiana to be a weak opponent within the Big Ten Conference based on recent performance. However, on October 14, just one week before this game, the Indiana Hoosiers defeated Iowa (then #15-ranked) 31-28, in what many considered an impressive upset. Considering the fact that Ohio State was a national championship contender and Indiana was competitive against a major team, fans of both schools were upset that ESPN would not be allowing ABC regional coverage of the game. Many cable providers did not carry ESPNU at the time. Accordingly, there was the perception that the move was a marketing tactic by ESPN, attempting to get more people and cable providers to carry and subscribe to ESPNU.
On October 31, 2006, ESPNU college football commentator Brian Kinchen was suspended from calling games for one week, because of a comment he made during an October 28 game broadcast of the Northern Illinois-Iowa game. Kinchen was explaining the need for receivers to make catches with their hands, because they are "tender" and can "caress" the ball. He then paused and said, "that's kind of gay, but hey."
"The comments were inappropriate, and we apologize for them," said ESPN's vice president of public relations Josh Krulewitz. "They were completely inappropriate and not at all a reflection of who I am or the way I perform my work," Kinchen said in a statement issued by ESPN. "I have learned from my mistake and look forward to continuing my broadcasting career."
On February 14, 2005, ESPNU reached an extensive agreement with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Southwestern Athletic Conference, two conferences that are predominantly part of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The seven-year agreement, which goes through 2012, gives ESPNU the exclusive cable rights to the MEAC and the SWAC football. The agreement allows ESPNU to televise a minimum of seven football games a season, primarily on Thursday nights. In addition, ESPNU will also have the rights to televise the SWAC Conference Championship through the remainder of the contract.
On June 21, 2006, ESPN Inc. also reached a wide-ranging agreement with the Big Ten Conference. The ten-year deal, which goes through 2016, allows ESPN Family of networks to broadcast up to 41 games a year, which a portion will be part of ESPNU's coverage of college football.
On August 29, 2006, ESPN Inc. reached a wide-ranging agreement with the Big East Conference. The six-year deal, which goes through the 2012 college football season, gives ESPNU the rights to broadcast at least five games per year, until the deal runs out. It also gives ESPNU the rights to produce a weekly program devoted to Big East sports.
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