By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Maryland's football game with Virginia on Saturday likely won't be on television for the first time since 2000.
Maryland associate athletic director Brian Ullmann said the school is involved in last-minute negotiations with Comcast SportsNet to get the game broadcast live, but the deal is contingent upon ESPN agreeing to sell the broadcast rights to Comcast.
Ullmann said the university should know the outcome by today.
If Comcast can't secure the rights, the game will be shown only on ESPN360, an Internet-only broadcast operation that is not available to Comcast broadband customers. Locally, the service is available only to Verizon subscribers in Washington and Baltimore.
"We're not happy about the TV situation," Ullmann said.
He also said the game likely will not be rebroadcast later in the week.
"We don't have much input into that," Ullmann said about the team's television appearances.
Representatives from ESPN could not be reached for comment.
This season, only the West Virginia-Maryland game, an ESPN Thursday night production, has been available in any form to Comcast subscribers. Last week's game was available on ESPNU, which is also not available to Comcast cable subscribers.
Ullmann said the Maryland athletic department is receiving calls from fans complaining about the lack of television appearances this season.
Comcast spokeswoman Lisa Altman said the company has no immediate plans to carry ESPNU or ESPN360. Comcast, one of the primary cable and Internet providers in the region, has more than 1.1 million cable subscribers in the Washington metropolitan area.
Ullmann said decisions regarding television games lie with the ACC's broadcast partners -- ESPN/ABC and Lincoln Financial Sports, which broadcasts regional games.
But those networks passed on the Virginia-Maryland game. ESPNU passed on the game as well, leaving only ESPN360 to pick up the game. Saturday's game will mark Maryland's third appearance on ESPN360 this season.Improvement, if Not Wins
Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen tried to stay positive in the face of the loss to Georgia Tech. After reviewing the game some more, Friedgen said he was happy with the effort during the loss to the Yellow Jackets.
"I have seen improvement," Friedgen said. "Sometimes it's not measured in wins and losses. If we keep the right attitude, keep working, it's my experience it will work out."
As he has since camp, Friedgen said the team is close to a breakout victory.
"We're close; we're very close," he said. "I really believe once we get through this, it's going to make a difference." . . .
Linebacker Rick Costa and tight end Joey Haynos wore noncontact jerseys at practice yesterday. . . .
Friedgen moved wide receiver Terrell Skinner over to safety to provide some depth.