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Big Ten Network Elected Not to Show Freeh Presser

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The Big Ten Network exists for one reason and one reason only: to cover Big Ten athletics inside and out. However, when networks such as ESPN, CNN, and MSNBC focused their attention to the findings of Louis Freeh’s report on Penn State and the Jerry Sandusky scandal, they were nowhere to be found, instead electing to replay a 2011 football game between Ohio State and Purdue. They released a statement as to why.

“While some may be unaware, BTN is not and was never intended to be a news organization. Our focus is to air, discuss and analyze what happens relative to the field of play, which is what our viewers are most interested in. BTN analysts have repeatedly expressed their disappointment with the way in which Penn State football officials handled the Sandusky situation. When our football coverage resumes later this month, it will be a topic of conversation as to how it may affect the Penn State football program and the rest of the Big Ten.”

Okay, so the Big Ten Network elected not to cover the biggest story in the history of the conference it covers, citing that it just wants to focus on matters on the field. The only problem with that is that it is inconsistent with their coverage in the past.

When Penn State head coach Joe Paterno passed away, the network was all over it. They even aired live coverage of his memorial service, featuring speeches from players and relative on their television channel, web site, and mobile site. Now, I have no problem with them airing the Paterno memorial, but doesn’t that seem to stray from their new company line that just wants to focus on the happenings on the field of play?

The Big Ten Network did what so many others have tried to do during this scandal. They tried to downplay their own power to protect the Penn State football program. And just like everyone who did so before them, they were called out on it in the end.

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