A federal judge in Los Angeles yesterday issued a temporary restraining order that seemingly clears the way for the Sept. 22 Nebraska-UCLA and Nov. 24 Notre Dame-Southern Cal football games to be televised nationally on CBS. But it was not immediately clear whether the games will be shown.
Nebraska and Notre Dame are both members of the College Football Association, which has contracts with ABC and ESPN that forbid members' games from being shown on another network. UCLA and USC are members of the Pacific-10 Conference, which along with the Big Ten signed contracts with CBS.
Since UCLA and USC are the host teams in the games, CBS scheduled them. But both Nebraska and Notre Dame declined to consent to the telecasts and were sued, along with ABC, ESPN and the CFA, by UCLA, USC, the Pac-10 and the Big Ten, which alleged antitrust violations. This summer, a Supreme Court ruling on similar antitrust issues deregulated NCAA control of televising football games.
In granting the preliminary injunction, Judge Richard Gadbois ruled that the hardships would be greater on the plaintiffs than the defendants. "He has not ordered them to consent," said Steve Wilson, an attorney for the plaintiffs. "He is just saying that they cannot cite those agreements (CFA contracts with ABC and ESPN) as a reason not to consent."
Spokesmen for Nebraska and Notre Dame said the universities' lawyers would have to review the ruling before deciding whether to consent. "It's not certain (we will consent)," said Roger Valdiserri, an assistant athletic director at Notre Dame. "It's not that easy of a decision . . . We are a member of a group and we have to consider the members of the group."