On Tuesday, college hockey enthusiasts went bat s--t crazy on Twitter when the NCAA Tournament television schedule was released on the organization's website.
All of ONE game of this year's NCAA Tournament games will air on a channel outside of ESPNU. That would be the NCAA title game ... on ESPN2. The title game has been on ESPN since at least the last NHL lockout. Four games will be syndicated on various regional sports networks. All of the regional finals and the Frozen Four semi-finals will air on ESPNU. In addition, the selection show, which has typically aired on ESPN2, will air on ESPNU.
I can't say I'm surprised that the NCAA Division I men's hockey tournament was relegated to the U and the Deuce for the title game. ESPN is still a business and I doubt a Saturday afternoon college hockey game between Union and Miami (Ohio) in Bridgeport, Connecticut is going to move the ratings needle. Earlier this week, ESPN all but completely ignored the NHL's trade deadline, giving the sport the bare minimum acceptable level of coverage.
I mean, I get it. Why devote any attention to a sport you don't own the TV media rights for, and won't until at least 2021? Why prop up a sports broadcasting rival in NBCUniversal? Why broadcast an event on ESPN that will barely pull in a 0.5 TV rating?
I get all that. Still sucks and sucks hard for fans of the sport, and college hockey in particular. Especially if your Regional semi-final is syndicated by a regional sports network you don't get and are forced to watch the game online or even worse, on tape-delay on ESPNU.
Anyhow, the complete 2012 NCAA Tournament schedule is below. You can tune in to watch BC hockey in their quest for #5 or you can simply meet me in Tampa.
12:00 Selection Show (ESPNU)
3:00 East Semi-final (ESPNU)
5:30 Midwest Semi-final (ESPN Syndication)*
6:30 East Semi-final (ESPNU)
9:00 Midwest Semi-final (ESPNU)
1:30 West Semi-final (ESPN Syndication^)
4:00 Northeast Semi-final (ESPNU)
5:00 West Semi-final (ESPN Syndication%)
6:30 East Final (ESPNU)
7:30 Northeast Semi-final (ESPN Syndication*)
9:00 Midwest Final (ESPNU)
5:30 West Final (ESPNU)
8:30 Northeast Final (ESPNU)
4:30 National Semi-Final (ESPNU)
8:00 National Semi-Final (ESPNU)
7:00 National Championship (ESPN2)
*-will air taped delayed at 11:30 p.m. ET that night on ESPNU
^- will air tape delayed at 12:30 p.m. ET the next day on ESPNU
%- will air tape delayed at 3:00 p.m. ET the next day on ESPNU