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John Beilein goes on epic rant over ESPN, fails to see own culpability

Games starting at 10pm ET? Ridiculous. Staying up until after midnight does no fan any good, and it’s all ESPN’s fault

The evil four-letter network is ruining the games we all love.

At least those are some of the rants we’ve heard from fans in the past regarding football and basketball game times fit to television windows and not fan convenience. After Tuesday night’s loss to Villanova in the Legends Classic championship game the fans have a new spokesperson — Michigan Wolverines head coach John Beilein.

Following the loss, Beilein went on a pretty epic rant over the moving of the tip-off from 10pm ET to 10:15pm ET.

“I love ESPN, I love it, but when they told me that game was going to be moved back 15 minutes, something’s wrong,” Beilein said, via the Detroit Free Press. “We have a bunch of guys with 8 and 9 o’clock classes tomorrow morning and we moved that game to 10:15 so that a football game could be finished. Let the football game finish (on TV but) let us start our game. But this is way out of whack when we move a game 15 minutes.

“It’s already the wrong time, 10 p.m. on the East Coast and now 15 more minutes? I love ESPN, they’re so good for us. (But) they got that one wrong. We can’t do that to our student-athletes. (Tell) Spike Albrecht when he goes to his 9 o’clock class today.”

Apparently that 15 minute time difference was the straw that broke the camels back.

Beilein made some great points about the ridiculousness of scheduling games so late and trying to make it all work just to benefit the television audience. Yet, he may want to look himself in the mirror a little bit if he’s going to go down the road of caring about players attending classes.

What Beilein is suggesting means he also had no idea that traveling out to Brooklyn would entail a championship game that would end very late and require a trip back to Ann Arbor.

Speaking of that trip, it didn’t calm Beilein down or give him more perspective on what happened.

While its admirable that Beilein is thinking of his players well-being, it rings hollow when compared to the fact that Beilein is the one that signed his team up for this tournament. If he truly cared for his players and their attendance at class the next day this wouldn’t have been a trip he would make.

Besides, is 15 minutes of extra sleep really going to make that big of difference to a college student? Sleep on the plane, get some more sleep when you get back to your place and get up for a 9am class. Welcome to the life of every college student ever coach Beilein.

His larger point about television revenue coming at immense costs to student-athletes notwithstanding, if he truly cared why not schedule a game closer to Ann Arbor?

Or simply not play a tournament in the middle of the week?

So, while the fans who complain about crazy start times and mid-week tournaments may have a new advocate it comes at the price of said advocate being part of the problem.

Let’s see if Beilein is willing to put his money and his team where his mouth is in the coming years. My guess, don’t hold your breath for change from Beilein or the way college basketball is operating any time soon.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball


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